North Texas Daily

New head coach brings successful system to volleyball program

New head coach brings successful system to volleyball program

New head coach brings successful system to volleyball program
September 10
09:00 2013

Ehsan Azad / Staff Writer

New volleyball head coach Andrew Palileo arrives to the Mean Green program hoping to use his experience and laid-back attitude to improve on an already successful program.

Last April, UNT hired Palileo to replace head coach Ken Murczek, who left to take on the same position at Wake Forest University. Palileo, who held an associate head coach position at Ohio State University at the time, drove down in the middle of the night to Denton for his first practice with his new team.

“I knew we were running out of days for practices, and we had three tournaments left. I wanted to get here and get to know the players and let the players get to know me,” Palileo said.

Even in the midst of the spring season and four tournaments around the state, Palileo said he was impressed with how the team transitioned to his coaching style.

This year, the team ranked fourth in a Conference USA coaches’ preseason poll – placing pressure on the team to live up to expectations, Palileo said.

“Coaches always put pressure on themselves and are naturally competitive,” Palileo said.

The system he brings to UNT is the same one that most recently helped him lead Washington State University to the NCAA tournament and earn the award for Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2009.

“The system has worked at every level,” Palileo said. “It’s just about going and recruiting the players that fit your system and if not, try to work with them to fit in the system.”

One addition for the Mean Green over the summer was associate head coach Al Givens, who has over thirty years of assistant and head coach experience at a university level.

The two have known each other for over 20 years, matching up against each other and crossing paths at various volleyball camps throughout the years. Givens jumped on a chance to coach at UNT when offered the position a week after Palileo was hired.

His and Palileo’s coaching styles differ on how they interact with players. Palileo described Givens as someone who doesn’t speak much until he needs too, but it isn’t uncommon to see Givens talk to the team during timeouts while Palileo watches on.  He is confident with giving responsibility to all of his assistants, including Givens.

“[I took the] the opportunity to work with him and come back to Texas, number one, and come to a program that has been established,” Givens said. “It doesn’t end with winning just a conference championships. We want to build a program that makes us competitive with the [entire] NCAA.”

Five months since Palileo took over the program, the team seems receptive. The Mean Green has won five of its eight games this year.

“They work really well,” senior libero Shelby Tamura said. “They aren’t afraid to step in to say their piece, but for the most part they work really well together and it’s a great system.”

Senior outside hitter Courtney Windham said the coaches would crack jokes, “making the mood lighter.”

The coaches will get the team ready for a matchup on the road against metroplex rival Texas Christian University. The game will be played at 6:30 p.m.

Feature photo by Aidan Barrett / Senior Staff Photographer 

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