By: Stephen McGowan
Arkansas Media Relations
Head Coach Robert Pulliza enters his second year with the Razorback Volleyball team. Widely regarded as one of the nation’s premier college volleyball recruiters, he assembled the sixth-best recruting class in the nation in 2001 for the University of Wisconsin, the second-best class in the nation for Texas Longhorns in 2003 and the 13th-best class for UT in 2004.
During his 13-year career as a coach, Pulliza worked with some of the nation’s biggest programs, and also seen international action as an assistant with the USA Youth National and USA Youth National A2 teams. With Pulliza on the sidelines, his teams have won a Big Ten titles, participated in the NCAA Championship match and won a silver medal at the NORCECA Zonal Championship.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pulliza is a 1996 graduate of Ball State with a degree in general studies and sports administration. He was a two-year team captain on Ball State’s men’s volleyball team reaching the NCAA Final Four in 1994 and 1995. He received his master’s degree in athletics administration and coaching in 1998 from James Madison. His wife, Jamie, is a speech pathologist.
MR: What was your biggest draw to the Razorback program?
RP: The opportunity to win national championships.
MR: What do you enjoy most about Razorback fans?
RP: How passionate they are about the Razorback teams.
MR: What is the most exciting thing about your team this year?
RP: Their personalities and how much fun they are to be around.
MR: What is your favorite element about volleyball, and why?
RP: The team aspect of the sport, how the success of the team depends on the team effort.
MR: Who was your role model when you were growing up?
RP: My mother.
MR: What is your favorite sports movie?
MR: Who is one person you would like to have an autograph from?
RP: Roberto Clemente, because he was a role model for Puerto Ricans that wanted to dream big.
MR: Name one thing about yourself that most people might not know about you?
RP: I like animals.
MR: What is your greatest fulfillment in coaching?
RP: Going to the Final Four when I was at Wisconsin.
MR: What is your favorite holiday?
RP: Christmas, because our family comes together.
MR: What is your most memorable moment in your volleyball career?
RP: Going to the Final Four twice at Ball State.
MR: What number did you wear when you played volleyball, is it significant?
RP: I wore the number 1, it wasn’t really significant to me.
MR: What is your favorite thing about Puerto Rico?
RP: How happy people are there, and how family is such an important aspect of life there.
MR: What inspired you to be a coach?
RP: I love the concept of a team, and working together to reach a common goal.
MR: If you could have 3 wishes what would they be?
RP: Win a SEC Championship, win a National Championship and world peace.
MR: What is the difference between Volleyball in Puerto Rico and volleyball in the United States?
RP: The speed of the game is quicker here on the technical side, and on the personality side it’s a lot more emotional in Puerto Rico.