“I believe we can be a top 50 division 1 volleyball program,” exclaimed Howard Head Coach Shaun Kupferberg. “The combination of our academics joined with what we are building athletically is making this a place many of the top African-American playing volleyball players will take a hard look at.” There are many positive check marks when you consider the culture aspect coined with the network available.
“We preach to our recruits and players, you are not making a 4 year decision but a 40 year decision with what Howard offers and the network that exists around the world,” stated Kupferberg. “We will never match the nutrition bars and decked out lounges but the kids coming to Howard are coming for a different experience and one we are happy to provide.”
The television show A Different World was an introduction to many to the world of Historically Black Colleges and University in the 80’s and 90’s. The fictional college “Hilman” created a visual on the television screen that inspired many black families. A college where you can find students who look like them. A college where students share similar backgrounds and experiences was vital during this time span. The volleyball program at Howard can be equally inspiring to young black girls.
“We feel very strong about using our platform to grow the game in the African-American community,” shared Kupferberg. “The younger girls are excited to see girls who look like them being successful in the sport and our girls really find pride in that.” The Howard volleyball camps have sold out for the last three years and end up with a waiting list of over a hundred kids. “It’s unfortunate we have to turn kids away due to space limitations but it goes to show how excited kids and their families are about our program,” added the Bison Head Coach.
The program has grown leaps and bounds since Kupferberg took over in 2012. He is mindful the first couple of teams were crucial. “I stated it would take one group of athletes to make the difference and that would lead to the direction of this program. They laid a foundation and now it’s expected the next group takes the reign in not only creating a successful volleyball program but also successful careers.
“Our main goal is to ensure our young ladies are put in the position to be successful and have opportunities to do whatever they want…that’s the Howard way,” chimed Kupferberg. “If they want to play volleyball, great! We’ve had Jessica Young go to USNT tryouts and Tamia (Dockery) just returned from this year's tryouts.”
If they don’t want to play volleyball after college, success still awaits them. You will find 2017 MEAC player of the year Khaila Donaldson working in Manhattan for J.P. Morgan Chase as a Global Treasury Management Analyst, after graduating Summa Cum Laude last spring. You can also look at Johnson and Johnson and find 2016 graduate and former volleyball player Jaleeza Stoudemire working as a research engineer.
“We are excited about our program and what we have to offer,” Kupferberg started. “Our volleyball team has been successful. Our players have been successful once they graduated. These two ingredients give us much to look forward to in the future of Howard Volleyball.