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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UC-Davis’ Walker named Arizona asst. volleyball coach

    The Arizona volleyball team has regained the service of a former UA coach as it sets itself up for spring tournaments.

    Former UA assistant coach Steve Walker will rejoin the coaching staff as the program’s top assistant, head coach Dave Rubio announced yesterday.

    “”We’re so pleased that someone of Steve’s caliber is returning to our team,”” Rubio said. “”The transition’s going to be very, very smooth.””

    Walker was an assistant to Rubio from 2003-2005, helping to lead the Wildcats to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2005. He left after the ’05 season to become the women’s volleyball head coach at UC Davis, where he’s been for the past two seasons.

    “”Any time you’re a head coach and then you come back to being an assistant coach, you have that appreciation of what the head coach is going through,”” Rubio said. “”We’re very fortunate to have Steve back.””

    Walker replaces Chris Gonzalez, who left the program last season to pursue a law degree.

    Gonzalez is the second assistant coach to leave the team in the past two years. Former Wildcat Dana Burkholder resigned after a year as an assistant following the 2006 season and Rubio brought in former Wildcat Allison Napier before last season to fill the void.

    “”From a recruiting standpoint, having a former Wildcat return helps quite a bit,”” Rubio said. “”They really relate to the recruits. It’s just more credible. With someone like Steve coming back, there’s a working relation that’s able to exist, that for us, we won’t have any transition times.””

    Rubio said he and Walker talk on a regular basis and added that he approached Walker for advice on whom to hire after Gonzalez departed. They talked for about a week and a half, Rubio said, discussing candidates that Walker knew of. Then Walker suggested he take the open position.

    “”It was something that couldn’t have worked out any better,”” Rubio said.

    Walker, who will officially join the team Friday, is just in time for Arizona’s spring tournaments. The Wildcats will host a tournament March 29, then play in San Diego on April 5, at Santa Barbara on April 12 and at Nevada-Las Vegas on April 19 – rounding out the four spring competitions they’re allotted by the NCAA.

    “”(Outside hitter) Whitney Dosty (who redshirted last season) is at full speed and she’s a great booster for us,”” Rubio said. “”Having Steve back is the icing on the cake.””

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