It is not often that an athletic program has the opportunity to add one of the nation’s best recruiters to its staff but that is exactly what the University of Arkansas did with the addition of Robert Pulliza in July 2008.
One of the volleyball world’s most recognized recruiters, Pulliza takes over as the second head coach at Arkansas leading the Razorbacks into the program’s next 15 years.
Pulliza is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top recruiters and setting coaches. He comes to Fayetteville after stops in some of the nation’s best programs including most recently as the associate head coach at Kentucky.
Pulliza was instrumental in reviving the Kentucky program since his arrival in 2004. His recruiting prowess was evident in 2006 when Pulliza’s recruiting class was ranked 26th in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com.
One of the standouts from that recruiting class, setter Sarah Rumely, was a two-time Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week selection and was named SEC Freshman of the Year.
Pulliza’s next class was even better and was ranked eighth in the country in 2007. One member of the 2007 team, Queen Nzenwa, became the program’s first All-American selection since 1993 after finishing the year ranked eighth in the nation in blocks per game.
Pulliza’s 2007 freshman class again led the SEC in first-year player success as the Wildcats brought home four SEC Freshman of the Week honors and a league-leading seven honors in the last two seasons. Kentucky made three NCAA tournament appearances in Pulliza’s four seasons for the first time in school history. In addition, Pulliza helped guide the Wildcats to a 20-win season for the first time since 1993. Kentucky had three consecutive 17-plus win seasons including back-to-back 19 win years and Pulliza has coached nine All-SEC members and 10 All-SEC Academic honorees. Pulliza’s college coaching career began in 1996-98 as an assistant coach at James Madison University. He moved on to Northern Illinois for the 1998-99 season helping the Huskies to the Mid-American Conference regular season title and second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1998. Pulliza’s next stop was in Madison, Wisc., where he served as the recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator for the Badgers from 1999-2001. He is credited with recruiting Volleyball Magazine’s sixth-best class in the country in 2001. In addition, Pulliza found himself on the sidelines as the Badgers won the Big Ten title and were in the NCAA Championship match in 2000. The next stop for Pulliza was the University of Texas in 2001-04. While serving as an assistant for the Longhorns, Pulliza signed Student Sports Magazine’s second-ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2003 and landed Prepvolleyball.com’s 13th-ranked class in 2004. 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 reaching the NCAA Final Four in 1994 and 1995. Pulliza received his master’s degree in athletics administration and coaching in 1998 from James Madison University. His wife, Jamie, is a speech pathologist and the couple will relocate to Northwest Arkansas.