Kentucky Names Pulliza Top Volleyball Assistant
Robert Pulliza, a former assistant coach at Texas and Wisconsin, has been named the top assistant coach for the Kentucky volleyball program, head coach Craig Skinner announced Friday.
“I’m really excited about being a part of a great university like the University of Kentucky,” Pulliza said. “This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up – from the great reputation of the University to a coach I respect so much in Craig Skinner and the location. It was a deal I couldn’t resist and I look forward to making Kentucky one of the best volleyball programs in the country.”
Pulliza, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, joins the Kentucky staff as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator after working with some of the top volleyball programs in the country. Pulliza spent three seasons as an assistant at Texas before pursuing a career in private business in May 2004. While at Texas, Pulliza helped the Longhorns to two NCAA Tournament appearances.
“Robert is a great coach and this is certainly a great addition for the program,” Skinner said. “I’m really excited to have Robert join the UK family. He brings an incredible ability to coach and recruit, which will help us get to the top of the SEC and become a program on the national scene.”
Prior to his move to Austin, Pulliza spent two years on the Wisconsin staff and helped the team to the 2000 Big Ten title and a spot in the NCAA title match against Nebraska. Seated on the bench opposite Pulliza was Skinner, who was in his first year as assistant coach for the Huskers. At Wisconsin, Pulliza coached All-America setter Lizzie Fitzgerald.
Pulliza spent the 1998 season at Northern Illinois, where he assisted the Huskies to the Mid-American Conference Championship and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to his stint at NIU, he coached two years as an assistant at James Madison while pursuing his master’s degree in administration and coaching.
The 31-year-old Pulliza began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Burris High School in Muncie, Ind. Burris claimed two state titles and was named the national runner-up by USA Today in 1994.
Pulliza has international coaching experience as well, serving as an assistant coach for the US National A2 Team in 2003 and the US Girls Youth National Team in 2000 and 2001. The 2000 team claimed a silver medal at the NORCECA Zonal Championships.
Pulliza is a 1996 graduate of Ball State with a degree in general studies and sports administration. He was a back-up setter for All-American Eduardo Ferraz and served as team captain for two seasons. Ball State advanced to the NCAA Final Four in both 1994 and 1995. Pulliza also was a member of BSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board and earned dean’s list honors in 1995-96. Pulliza and Skinner were teammates on the Cardinals’ volleyball team for two seasons.
Pulliza and his wife, Jamie, will reside in Lexington. He will begin his coaching duties immediately.