Pulliza Named Associate Head Coach
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky volleyball head coach Craig Skinner has promoted Robert Pulliza as Associate Head Coach, he announced Thursday.
“We are excited to name Robby associate head coach,” said Skinner. “He has been instrumental in our success over the last three years and will have a major impact as we go forward. We have lofty goals here, and he understands what it takes to compete and win at the highest level. We are fortunate to have him. Our players and recruits continue to feed off of his energy and passion for the game.”
One of the nation's top recruiters and setting instructors, Pulliza will enter his fourth season at Kentucky. He has helped see the Wildcats emerge as one of the top programs in the SEC and guide the team to three consecutive NCAA appearances for the first time in school history.
“I would like to thank Coach Skinner and our administration for having the confidence to name me Associate Head Coach,” said Pulliza. “It is a great time to be a Wildcat and I look forward to continuing to make UK volleyball one of the premier programs in the country.”
Pulliza’s 2007 class earned the distinction of being ranked eighth in the nation, giving him back-to-back top 30 recruiting classes after Kentucky's 2006 freshman class comprised the nation's 26th-ranked recruiting class as judged by PrepVolleyball.com. One of those freshmen, setter Sarah Rumely, posted an explosive rookie campaign under Pulliza's tutelage, and continued to be a force in her second season in 2007.
Rumely, a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, was named the SEC's Freshman of the Year - a first in school history. Under Pulliza's direction, Rumely was one of only two players to rank in the league's top 10 in both assists and service aces.
As a sophomore Rumely became just the fifth player in school history to eclipse the 3,000-assist mark for her career. In just two seasons, she has 3,004 career dishes and ranks fifth all-time at UK for assists.
Since joining Skinner’s staff, Pulliza has assisted in guiding a UK team that amassed a 20-win season for just the first time since the 1993 season. The Blue and White have totaled three straight 17-win seasons for the first time since 1991-1993, while also totaling back-to-back 19-win seasons for the first time since 1992-93. Kentucky has knocked off three top-25 ranked foes, while also earning their first NCAA tournament victory since 1992. Nine team members have been named All-SEC, while 10 have been awarded Academic All-SEC.
Prior to coming to UK, Pulliza spent three seasons as an assistant at Texas. While at Texas, Pulliza helped the Longhorns to two NCAA Tournament appearances. 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. At Wisconsin, Pulliza mentored 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.