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Charita Stubbs named next head coach of Arizona volleyball

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

It got Arizona women’s basketball to the national title game. It got Arizona softball to an unlikely Women’s College World Series. Will putting a former player in charge of Arizona volleyball have the same results?

Arizona Athletics decided to give former Wildcats middle blocker and long-time associate head coach Charita Stubbs her opportunity to make that happen. The department announced on Wednesday morning that Stubbs would succeed her former coach and mentor, Dave Rubio, as head coach of Wildcat volleyball.

“I am incredibly excited to name Charita Stubbs as our next head volleyball coach,” Arizona Athletic Director Dave Heeke said in the department’s press release. “As a former Wildcat student-athlete and longtime member of Dave Rubio’s staff, Rita has a great appreciation and understanding of what it means to compete for the University of Arizona. She is a nationally respected figure in college volleyball who is outstanding at developing elite volleyball athletes with a passion for recruiting and guiding these student-athletes into academic, athletic and life champions that align with our mission and values. Rita has a tremendous vision and outstanding skillset that will set the course for future success for Arizona Volleyball, and I look forward to watching her add more chapters to the storied legacy of the program.”

It did not come as a surprise. Rubio had been telling both media and recruits for the last few years that Stubbs would still be at Arizona when he retired. It just came a bit earlier than expected.

Stubbs has been on the staff at Arizona for 19 years over two different stints (1997-2005 and 2013-2022), rising to the position of associate head coach twice. In between, she had a run as the head coach at North Carolina State.

“I want to thank Dave Heeke for believing in me and naming me the new head coach of Arizona volleyball,” Stubbs said in the release. “I am excited to lead my alma mater as I bleed red and blue. I cannot than Dave Rubo enough for believing in this girl from Cleveland, Ohio as a player and as a coach. I stand for truth, hard work and discipline in this game, and I will continue Arizona volleyball’s culture where our student-athletes enjoy the process.”

As Charita Johnson, she was at Arizona when Rubio arrived in 1992. She was part of the turnaround of a program that didn’t win a match in the Pac-10 the year before he was hired and went to back-to-back Sweet 16s in 1993 and 1994.

As a player, she still holds Arizona records for career (117) and single match (8) solo blocks.

As a coach, she has been on the sidelines for 14 NCAA Tournament appearances in her 19 years at Arizona. In her first nine years as an assistant coach, she helped the team to nine straight tourney appearances—including one Final Four appearance—and eight Top 25 finishes.

Arizona will hold a press conference for Stubbs and Rubio on Thursday, Jan. 19.