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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Rubio has set Arizona volleyball up for future success

Ariona+volleyball+head+coach+Dave+Rubio+speaks+to+the+media+after+watching+the+NCCA+Championship+Tournament+selection+show+on+Nov.+30+in+McKale+Center.+Rubio+and+his+coaching+staff+have+tabilized+the+Wildcats+for+the+future.

Ariona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio speaks to the media after watching the NCCA Championship Tournament selection show on Nov. 30 in McKale Center. Rubio and his coaching staff have tabilized the Wildcats for the future.

Twenty-three years ago, Dave Rubio entered the Arizona volleyball program as its head coach and has always looked ahead. Rubio has led the Wildcats to 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, including one Final Four, four Elite Eights and seven Sweet Sixteen trips.

After every match since 1992, Rubio’s name has been announced as head coach of the Wildcats, and with good reason. The season prior to his arrival, the Wildcats did not win a single conference match. Since then, Rubio has directed Arizona to a 440-257 overall record and has won 562 matches in his 27-year collegiate coaching career.

Even with all of his years of experience coaching volleyball, Rubio enjoys the task of bringing in new athletes and training them to be superstars.

“Every year is a challenge, and I think that’s what makes coaching so unique that you can do it for many years, and every year it feels like it’s the first year you have ever coached,” Rubio said.

Besides providing impressive numbers and experienced coaching advice, Rubio’s recruiting is what has taken Arizona to the next level. He has recruited 30 athletes listed as Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 recruits and his recruiting class back in 2002 was ranked top in the nation.

Looking forward, Rubio has quite the feat ahead of him after the Wildcats’ disappointing loss to BYU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament this season. He now has to figure out how to replace five seniors, four of whom have been leaders from the very start.

This season, Arizona hosted the NCAA Tournament, something that hasn’t happened since 2002. In fact, Rubio thought that Arizona would never have the opportunity to host again.

“To be honest with you, I never thought it would happen,” Rubio said. “I mean it’s been so long — 12 years. It’s really special for this group, and it’s special for me because it doesn’t happen very often.”

Rubio rarely changes his expression on the sideline, no matter what is happening on the floor. While other coaches scream and shout at officials, Rubio’s calm demeanor allows Arizona to stay relaxed.

Alongside Rubio are his two assistant coaches and one volunteer assistant coach.

Assistant coach Charita Stubbs returned to Rubio’s staff after taking a head coaching position of her own. She is a former UA alumna and knows what it means to be a Wildcat, especially since she was the first in UA history to record 300 kills, 300 digs and 100 blocks in one season.

Assistant coach Gregg Whitis has two years of experience on Rubio’s staff and has considerable coaching experience of his own. Volunteer assistant coach Jack Dyck has over 25 years of coaching experience to bring to the table.

With so much valuable coaching experience at his side, Rubio should be confident moving forward. Four Wildcats signed their letters of intent back in November and will be joining the team next season. Junior middle blocker Halli Amaro and sophomore setter Penina Snuka have consistently started this season, while sophomore outside hitter Ashley Harris provided valuable play off the bench.

Although this past season might have ended in disappointment, look for Rubio and Arizona to rebound next season.

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