Arizona volleyball 'proud' of Rubio's 500-win milestone

Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat UA Volleyball head coach Dave Rubio watches the match on Friday, Sept. 1

During the Wildcat Classic Invitational Sept. 14, in a match against the New Mexico State Aggies, head coach Dave Rubio reached the 500th victory of his career with the University of Arizona Wildcats. Rubio has been coaching volleyball at Arizona for 27 years. 

“I was excited. I think I was even more excited about just winning and then I was about the 500th win," Rubio said. "But it was terrific that my family was there, my brother was there certainly. But for me it was kind of more in the moment of just trying to, you know, win that next match.” 

Rubio’s brother, Keith Rubio, is the associate head coach for New Mexico State University’s women’s volleyball team. 

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Rubio spoke about finding out he could possibly be the sixth coach in Arizona history to reach the elusive 500-win mark. 

“It’s a little overwhelming and humbling, to be honest with you. I mean, I look at Lute Olson and certainly Mike Candrea and Jerry Kindall, and those guys are legends," Rubio said.

The veteran volleyball head coach was hesitant to put himself in that category.

"I certainly don’t look at myself that way, by any stretch of the imagination. I read that stat just last week, and I was really surprised. It was an honor to be a part of that group, and those are the guys that, when I got hired back in 1992, that I really looked up to and sought advice from," Rubio said.

Junior Julia Patterson, who plays setter, called Rubio "one of the best coaches she's ever had."

"He is a big impact on who I have become as a player and as a person. So, to be able to share this with him, it’s obviously something not a lot of coaches get, so it’s a pretty big milestone for him, so we're really proud of him," Patterson said. 

The Arizona wildcats hundle up before taking the court during the Arizona-SDSU match at McKale Memorial Center on Friday August 31 in Tucson Arizona. The wildcats finished the match winning three games to zero.

Sophomore outside hitter Paige Whipple also explained what it was like to be part of a big moment. 

“It was a super special weekend, just to see Dave get a little bit emotional just about such a milestone for his career," Whipple said. "For us to not only be playing New Mexico State, who we took our first loss to, that was definitely motivation. But we also were like, 'Let's do this for Dave'. That’s a such a huge milestone and such an accomplishment for a coach."

But Whipple said it was a bigger deal to her and her teammates than it was to Rubio.

“He was very humble about it; he told us last week that he didn't even realize he was close until last week when the media started posting about it, which just shows that he doesn't really care about his wins and losses. He tells us that all the time that’s not what he’s about. He’s about us working hard and us getting better," Whipple said.

Over of his 27 years of coaching, Rubio has helped the Wildcats appear in 19 NCAA Tournaments. The Wildcat volleyball team has a record of 11-1.

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