North Texas Daily

Volleyball head coach looks to take team to title

Volleyball head coach looks to take team to title

Volleyball head coach looks to take team to title
November 05
22:55 2014

Kyle Youmans / Staff Writer

Over the 38-year history of the North Texas volleyball program, there have been nine head coaches. Only two of those finished their tenure with an overall winning record.

Even after being faced with a whole new team, a whole new conference and not being a head coach since 2010, Andrew Palileo has already compiled a 34-24 record through almost two years with the team.

In his first season with the Mean Green, Palileo took over an experienced team that had finished 26-12 in the previous season. The team went 17-15 in Palileo’s first season and is 17-9 with four games left to play in the regular season.

“I was able to come here last season and already have some talent on the team,” Palileo said. “Coming into this year, our main focus was to fill in the holes we had last season with recruiting, then develop them into individuals and eventually into a winning team.”

Before his time with the Mean Green, Palileo had his first head coaching position at Bethel University from 1998-2000. He then went on to extend his credentials coaching at schools such as South Dakota State, Washington State and  Ohio State.

“I have been lucky enough to have experience at all the college levels,” Palileo said. “And for each of those teams, I have been able to win some kind of championship or make a run for the NCAA tournament. And when you make a run like that with a team, you learn how to make those runs.”

Due to his coaching experience in both large and small conferences, Palileo has been able to relate to the North Texas athletic program’s switch from Sun Belt to Conference USA before his first season.

The Sun Belt was often referred to as scrappy and unorganized from a game plan standpoint. Larger conferences were known to be more structured and strategic on the court and Palileo knew how to bring that mindset to the Mean Green.

“Coach Palileo definitely had a more technical approach,” junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard said. “Coach Ken [Murczek] would always want us to fly to the ball, and Palileo changed that so it is more structured, and he would tell us how to go get a ball instead of flopping around for it.”

Senior defender Eboni Godfrey is in her fourth season with the team and has seen both the coaching styles of Murczek and Palileo.

“The biggest difference that Palileo brings is his style of play,” Godfrey said. “Everyone has a different style, instead of diving around and jumping over benches to get a ball, he wants us calm, relaxed and ahead of the play.”

Dillard said one of the bigger changes is Palileo’s on-court demeanor.

“Our old coach had a ton of passion and was loud and crazy with it,” Dillard added. “Palileo has that same type of passion but he is quieter with it. He is more of the ‘get it done, get it right’ type of mind set on game day.”

Senior outside hitter Hanna Forst has been around three different head coaches in her college career and said Palileo instills a lot of belief in the team.

“He has never admitted that another team is better than us.” Forst said. “He believes in his system and how he prepares us. He always believes that we can beat our opponent every week. I wouldn’t say that he has any specific ritual on game day.”

The team has clinched a spot in the C-USA tournament for the second straight year. Palileo is now looking to finally bring the team a conference title.

“Well they have played volleyball here for a long time,” Palileo said. “But we are trying to win consistently. We are trying to ensure that the current players here put together multiple winning seasons so that they leave a winning legacy for the university and for the players that are coming afterwards to be proud of.”

Featured Image: Head volleyball coach Andrew Palileo, white shorts, talks to his team in a hudde after practice. The team is 17-9 and has clinched a spot in the Conference USA tournament. Photo by Caitlyn Jones – Features Editor

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