Arizona Volleyball Coach Rubio and Players Ready to Spike Into this Season

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Zona Zealots Editor Shereen Rayan and staff writer Marisol Diaz get to know Arizona Volleyball Coach Rubio, his team and one of his special freshman Mia Mason.

The volleyball team is days away from the start of their season. To kick this off, Zona Zealots talked to Coach Rubio, on his take on the season. Fun fact we learned while talking with Coach Rubio, he and Zona Zealots Editor Shereen were students together at CSUN! Small world!

Here’s our conversation with Coach Rubio to start us off.

After 23 seasons at Arizona, what types of things do you do with your new team each year to help them bond and to keep things fresh for you and the team? Any rituals your team has before the season, after or before games?

After 23 years of coaching at UofA, the process of preparing my team never gets old. In fact the challenges each year brings is what keeps it fresh and new. Each team requires a different approach than the previous year.

In 1993, I started skit night and what is called the candle ceremony. It always takes place during our fall camp. We have dinner at my house and watch the players skits. That evening we gather around and each of us holds a candle and talk about the hopes and dreams of the upcoming season.

Outlook/goals for this upcoming season?

Our goal every year is to make post season and win four games in a row to qualify for the Final Four. Then it is to win the National Championship. We have been close several times but have yet to win the National Championship. This year we have 11 new players. Which also means we graduated several starters from last years team. I believe with time we will be an elite team.

What do you hope to continue from last year?

The leadership from last years seniors was extraordinary! It has been obvious that the standards they set have carried over to this years upperclassman.

What’s your favorite thing about coaching and about volleyball in general? Any funny stories or memorable moments?

I fell in love with coaching/teaching 1983 the year after I graduated from CSUN. I liked helping kids and how it made me feel afterwards. It was never about winning but about helping young people get better in the sport I loved.

I have lots of memorable moments. Without question the best part of coaching has been visiting with my former players and seeing how successful they have become both personally and professionally.

You’ve had a lot of success during your time as the Wildcats head coach. What’s one thing that has helped you get your athletes to the next level?

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. By the time I started HS in 1975 they started boys volleyball. A former player at my HS was a senior at CSUN and competing for their men’s VB team. He volunteered his time and coached that first year I was in HS.  His name was Walt Ker.

He eventually became the Head Coach for the Mens and Women’s VB teams. I was able to get mentored by him and he taught me the value of teaching and the impact that can have on the development of players. I have subscribed to that philosophy ever since.

Which Pac-12 team will pose the biggest challenge for the Wildcats this season?

The Pac 12 Conference is without question the most competitive conference in the country. Even though Penn St has won several National Championships the last several years. No conference can match the number of teams ranked in the top 25 and the number of teams who have qualified for the NCAA tournament. Each team in the conference poses problems.

The top three teams in the conference this year will be Stanford, USC and ASU. We were picked 7th which is a fair prediction. Last year we were picked 9th and finished third. It would be nice to have that same result this year.

Can you dance the Nae Nae? (referring to the Gymcats video and Rich Rod’s dancing)


No worries, neither can I! 

Do you have any messages for your fans, friends and/or family?

We will be worth the price of admission!

Well said, Coach. I’m sure that’ll be true. Be sure to watch out for Wildcats volleyball this season!

Next: Wildcats Womens Volleyball Takes Over Tucson