The Northern Arizona University Lumberjack volleyball team makes its home in the Joseph C. Rolle Activity Center, located on the south side of campus. In 2013, the facility celebrates its 25th season as the everyday home for NAU volleyball.
The facility offers four complete volleyball courts, which the Lumberjacks use for their practices. For home matches, the Rolle Activity Center is set up with one court in the center surrounded on two sides by bleachers and sponsorship tents, with the bleachers seating up to 1,080 fans.
The turnaround of the NAU program has coincided with the team’s dominance at home. Since 1995, NAU has posted a solid 120-62 (.659) record at home, which is the fourth-best record in the Big Sky Conference over the last 12 seasons. NAU set a record in 1999 by posting 11 home wins and set the arena record in 2000 by winning 90.9 percent of its home dates (10-1), then tying the mark in 2001. In 2010, the program will have 11 home dates including one home tournament. The facility will be the home for the Fiesta Bowl, a tournament returning for its 18th year which will take place on September 3-4.
The facility has shown to be fan-friendly, as the Lumberjacks have rated among the nation’s top-60 in home attendance for the last several years (out of more than 320 Division I programs).
After 15 seasons in now-razed Lumberjack Gym, the volleybal team moved into the Rolle Activity Center for the 1989 season. The squad was 12-11 in its first two seasons in the facility but has posted a 147-70 (.677) mark in 19 seasons since, including a 61-20 (.753) record against non-conference opponents and a team-record streak of six straight seasons with at least 10 home wins (1996-2001).
Non-league opponents due to come to Rolle in 2010 are Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Rider, and Maryland Eastern Shore for the Fiesta Bowl. In recent seasons, NAU has defeated NCAA Tournament teams Arizona State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Eastern Washington, Memphis, Houston, Oregon State, Radford and Sacramento State in the seasons those schools ended up in the NCAAs, winning 71 percent of the games played in those matches (39 of 55).
While serving as the volleyball headquarters, the Rolle Activity Center is also used by the NAU men’s and women’s basketball teams as a practice facility and home arena for early-season games when the NAU football team is still competing and using the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome; however, for the 2010-11 season, the vollyeball team will share the facility with men’s and women’s basketball who will play all its home games at Rolle while the Skydome is under construction. Rolle is also used for open recreation and intramurals, and it houses the NAU men’s volleyball club team.
The arena has also served as the training-camp home for the Phoenix Suns of the NBA and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury has used the facility during its preseason training camp. The gym was dedicated in the name of Dr. Joseph C. Rolle for his contributions as both an administrator and professor at NAU. He and his wife, Marie, annually give the Rolle Award to the most valuable player on both the NAU men’s and women’s basketball teams.