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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball coach holds reins of program

    Volleyball head coach Dave Rubio grasps his 2001 Final Four commemorative ball yesterday at his office in McKale Center. Since Rubio took over, he has guided Arizona to a 287-144 record (.666 winning percentage).
    Volleyball head coach Dave Rubio grasps his 2001 Final Four commemorative ball yesterday at his office in McKale Center. Since Rubio took over, he has guided Arizona to a 287-144 record (.666 winning percentage).

    Dave Rubio sat in his office in McKale Center with signed volleyballs of players from his past teams above his head and pictures of achievements surrounding him.

    Wearing flip-flops and casual wear, the Arizona volleyball head coach watched film with enthusiasm and enjoyment apparent from the expressions on his face, seemingly at home away from home.

    Although coaching is technically a job for Rubio, he doesn’t see it as just work because of the relationships he has built with his players.

    “”I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else,”” Rubio said. “”It is so satisfying to know that you come to work every day and affect people’s lives.””

    When Rubio took over the then subpar Arizona program in 1992, it was undeniably a work in progress, but compared to the prestige the program carries today, it is like two different schools.

    After taking over a program that did not win any Pacific 10 Conference matches the year before, he has guided the Wildcats to 12

    He is our coach out on the court, but off the court he is kind of like our dad.

    – Dominique Lamb,
    junior middle blocker

    NCAA Tournament selections, including the past 10 in a row, 22 NCAA victories, seven Sweet 16s, four Elite Eights – including the one last year – and the Final Four in 2001.

    But winning isn’t his top priority as a coach, although it is important. He said that he feels more like a teacher than a coach.

    “”I just want to affect these girls’ lives in a positive way,”” he said. “”I am not only concerned about winning games – although that is what keeps my job – I am also concerned about teaching these girls lessons that will be valuable to them for the rest of their lives.””

    UA assistant coach Dana Burkholder is not only his assistant coach, but she was once a star player under him, and she said that he was a very influential figure in her life.

    “”One of the most important things that he influenced me on was instilling some leadership qualities in me,”” she said. “”He taught me through the venue of volleyball how to affect change among people and how to be an effective leader.””

    And he didn’t do too bad with her on the court either, as she was a two-time All-American setter and Arizona’s only Pac-10 Player of the Year recipient.

    “”We had a really good relationship when I was a player,”” she said. “”Now we have a good working relationship, and we try to bring out the best in each other.””

    His current players also appreciate everything he does.

    “”Well, coming in, I didn’t know nearly as much then as I do now,”” freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty said. “”I find him very influential, and I think everyone else does too. He is who we look to for advice about volleyball or anything else.””

    Junior middle blocker Dominique Lamb said: “”He just wants to bring the best out of you. He is our coach out on the court, but off the court he is kind of like our dad.””

    It is not only a saying either, as Lamb even went to Rubio to help her find a car.

    “”I was looking for a car, and he helped me find good deals,”” she said. “”He has been here for such a long time, and we all know we can rely on him for just about everything.””

    Rubio said he wouldn’t be happier doing anything else.

    “”When I first got the job, I needed it more than it needed me,”” he said. “”Now I get the chance to be a positive influence in the lives of these girls, and I love it.””

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