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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Burkholder leads Cats from sideline

    Dana Burkholder
    Dana Burkholder

    When then-senior setter Dana Burkholder was in uniform for the Arizona volleyball team in 2001, UA head coach Dave Rubio described her as a key to the Wildcats’ offense.

    It has been five years and nothing has changed, as she is in her first year as an assistant volleyball coach.

    Although Burkholder is not in uniform, the two-time first-team All-American setter’s presence is still felt from the Wildcats’ sideline.

    “”I always knew that Dana would make a terrific assistant coach,”” Rubio said. “”She has a wonderful charisma about her. She has passion and she has a winning attitude that carried over to her teammates when she played, and it carries over to the players she is currently coaching.””

    Burkholder’s original plan was not to come on as one of Rubio’s assistant coaches, although she has found herself somewhere she loves to be, as she said she’d probably be writing if not coaching.

    After spending the last two years in marketing and sales, she said she found herself drawn back to volleyball.

    When the opportunity to come back to the Wildcats arose, Burkholder said she would have liked nothing more than to come back and be a part of Arizona volleyball again.

    “”I pursued Dave about the position,”” Burkholder said. “”I knew the position might be coming available soon, so I got in touch with Dave and told him how excited I would be to get the opportunity to help the program.””

    Rubio said he thought Burkholder would fit in perfectly as an assistant.

    As the only volleyball player in Arizona history to win Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Year honors, Rubio said her leadership skills and presence on the court gave her experience that might come in handy in a coaching position.

    “”She is very bright, and that is one of the prerequisites that you need to have,”” Rubio said. “”Any time she speaks she comes from a position of knowledge and experience, and that gives her great credibility. Any time she speaks, the setters immediately listen to everything she has to say.””

    Burkholder said she feels like her experience in an Arizona uniform helps her communicate with the players on a different level.

    Senior setter Stephanie Butkus said the team always hears Rubio speak as a coaching figure during pivotal parts of the season, while Burkholder sometimes speaks as if she were a teammate.

    “”She really understands where I am coming from because she has been there,”” Butkus said. “”She has a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge that would be great to get from her before I leave here.””

    Although Burkholder spends an extensive amount of time with the setters, she also has been able to connect with all of the players on the team.

    Freshman outside hitter Whitney Dosty said Burkholder is a great influence as a coaching figure as well as being a mentor.

    “”I think we all have a great relationship with her,”” Dosty said. “”It is really great having her around. Sometimes it is like having a coach and sometimes it is like learning from another player. She brings a lot to this team, and we are all happy to have her.””

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