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Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio steps down after 31 seasons

Associate head coach named replacement

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The Arizona volleyball team's head coach Dave Rubio during the Arizona Wildcats vs. Appalachian St. volleyball game on Aug. 30, 2019, in McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

(Photo by JB Barrera / for Arizona Athletics)

Dave Rubio, the former head coach of the Arizona volleyball team, has decided it was time for him to step down as head coach and call it a career. 

“After 31 seasons as the head volleyball coach at the University of Arizona, it is time for me to retire,” Rubio said. 

He leaves the program as the winningest head coach in program history. 

Prior to arriving in Arizona, Rubio had already established himself as one of the great young coaching talents. He won a Division II National Championship at California State University Bakersfield, which was part of his successful five-year career at Cal State Bakersfield where he had a 122-66 record. He led the Roadrunners to two Final Fours and the 1989 National Championship. 

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Rubio inherited a program that had never won a single conference match prior to his arrival, then over his tenure with the Wildcats he guided them to a 570-380 record and has won 692 matches in his 36-year collegiate coaching career. This is the 11th most amongst all active Division I coaches, and he guided Arizona to their first-ever Pac-10 title in 2000. 

Rubio recently became the second Pac-12 volleyball coach in history to reach 500 wins in 2018. He is now ending his career with 570 wins, which makes him the second-winningest Pac-12 volleyball coach in history.

Rubio said he was also very fortunate to join an incredible group of Arizona coaches. 

“I owe a debt of gratitude to all the assistant coaches who have helped me grow and inspire me along this journey, including my athletic trainer Emily Johnson who has been with me for over 15 years,” Rubio said. “I want to especially thank my Associate Head Coach Charita Stubbs who has been with me for over 20 years as a former player and assistant. I appreciated your loyalty and wisdom over the last 31 years."

Rubio's other achievements include recruiting and coaching four first-team All-Americans, including Dana Burkholder, the Arizona volleyball team's first-ever consensus two-time honoree. He also had dozens of other players that had received great achievements and accolades under his tutelage.

Rubio closed out his coaching career by giving his final thanks to his mentors. 

“Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not properly recognize and thank these two people,” Rubio said. “Rocky LaRose mentored me and watched over me throughout the 25 years we were together. I can never give her enough credit and thanks for my longevity in Arizona. Suzy Mason took over for Rocky as my supervisor and made my job easier while always being there to help me.” 

Stubbs has since been named the new head coach of Arizona’s volleyball team.

In an Arizona Athletics press conference announcing her new role, Stubbs spoke a bit about what she's learned since the last time she was a head coach at North Carolina State University. 

"I don't think I presented myself as myself the last time I had that experience. I went honestly trying to be like Dave ... it wasn't me," Stubbs said. "I didn't know who I was, and I was probably too prideful [to] ask for help. So now I'm always upfront, honest. I believe in being vulnerable with your players, and that was the meeting I had with them. As soon as Dave announced it to the team, I sat down with them on a beanbag because that's who I am and I'm not going to change who I am now."

Stubbs also said she has received nothing but support so far. 


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