Robert Pulliza Q&A
By Sean Cartell - UK Media Relations
Robert Pulliza, who has extensive assistant coaching experience at Texas and Wisconsin, was named the top assistant volleyball coach at the University of Kentucky this past January. Pulliza, who is known for his tenacious recruiting abilities, recently sat down with UK Media Relations to discuss his new job and his outlook on the upcoming season.
Q: You join the University of Kentucky after three seasons with a very successful volleyball program at the University of Texas. Talk about your decision to join the staff at UK and your initial thoughts about the UK volleyball program.
A: “I’m really excited about being a part of such a great staff. I have known [UK Coach] Craig [Skinner] for a long time. We played together and I’ve coached against him. It’s exciting to be working not only with a friend, but with one of the great minds of the game. To work with a program like UK is an honor. It is an excellent program with great tradition. I really like this part of the country and the people of Kentucky are wonderful.”
Q: One of the first things that first struck me about you was your energy and enthusiasm, and how you really hit the ground running. Talk about the approach you take to your job.
A: “I think that it is so important to love what you do. We’re excited to be working together as a coaching staff with great players. It’s pretty easy to be excited and energetic about your job when you have exceptional players and great recruits. The energy has really created itself.”
Q: What’s the best part of your job as a collegiate volleyball coach?
A: “I love to opportunity to coach and teach. Guiding the athletes is something that I really enjoy. Working with such a great staff is really exciting.”
Q: Talk about what it is going to take for the Kentucky volleyball program to again reach the championship level it enjoyed in the 1980s.
A: “There is no reason why Kentucky can’t be one of the best programs in the nation. The basketball teams have proven that. I have no doubt that we can get to that level—it’s just a matter of fixing a few small things. We’re not looking five or six years down the road, our window of success is in the near future. It just comes down to the training and the hard work. Fan support is also going to be really important. We need the fans to back us up and provide that extra wind for us in those big games. I have no doubt that there is a short window for success at UK.”
Q: What aspects of the support system are already in place that really allow you the resources needed to succeed?
A: “We have everything in place that it takes to be successful. Our facilities are state of the art. Memorial Coliseum is a great place to play with all of the tradition and the championship banners. We just got the blueprints for a brand new locker room they are building for our team in the Coliseum. The administration gives us everything we need to be successful—they have just been great. We have all the tools that we need in order to get the job done. Everything at UK is first class.
Q: Discuss this year’s team and the coaching staff’s goals for the team?
A: “What we want to do is create excitement about Kentucky volleyball. We are going to play exciting volleyball. Day in and day out, we want our players to give it everything that they have. Everyone wants to win. The bottom line is that we want our team to compete their hearts out and if we do that, winning will take care of itself.”
Q: We’re entering an exciting time for UK volleyball. What do you say to the Kentucky fan who is thinking about checking out a match, maybe for the first time?
A: “I would say that if they are going to see an exciting sport with dynamic athletes that takes great strategy and skill. The players are working extremely hard. We want to make it a family event. Our players are exciting to watch and they are great people who give it their all.”