Head Coach Bob White is in his second season as the head coach of the Lions volleyball team. He came from Palm Beach Atlantic University which is a Division-II program. While head coach of the Sailfish for 13 years he led the program to an impressive six straight regional tournaments, two trips to the Final Four and a national championship in 2014. Now he looks to bring that success to UNA at the Division-I level.
Last year Coach White lead the Lions to a 4-21 record for their first season in Division-I. “The game is faster, and requires different preparation than the D2-II game.” said White.
Now in 2019 the Lions sit with a 3-16 record with a 1-5 record in conference play. “Youth is the leading culprit to our rocky season,” said White. “Experience is everything. We lack balance with a team fielding ten freshman, two sophomores, and two juniors.”
Coach White still believes the team is showing huge strides game to game. “We took the first set from Kennesaw last night which was unexpected,” said White. “They had won the conference last year and we never had less than five freshmen on the court at any time.”
Coach White even went as far as to say “When I first went to Palm Beach Atlantic, we were a struggling school.”
The team had not been a success in any form of the word struggling to stay on the court with in conference powerhouses like Tampa College for a few years. “Then when we finally got a balance in ages, we won a title,” said White. “Our program here at UNA seems to be on a similar path winning a set here or there against much more experienced teams. “
Coach White is also attempting to bring a new philosophy he calls “Play for me Alabama” modeled after the famous Alexander Shunnarah billboards. Upon arriving at UNA Coach White noticed that the Lions had zero players from the state.
“The school felt that in order to compete we needed to go out of state to grab talent,” said White. “After seeing all-conference junior Lauren Chastang from Kennesaw State, I knew we could get talent from the state.”
To attempt to bring in more talent from the state Coach White held a high school clinic hoping to bring more local talent to the school, where his catchphrase came into full effect. He saw immediate success from the clinic as high school coaches around the state points him in the direction of local talents.
“We went from zero to five players from Alabama over the last two years,” said White. “The goal is to build a team that will not only make the University proud, but the state as well.”
This strategy does not mean that Coach White is going to stop recruiting out of state, however it just means he wants talent that represents the state.
The team has ten games left on the season all of which are ASUN conference games. The Lions will play five home games against Kennesaw State, Florida Gulf Coast, NJIT, Stetson, and North Florida. The ASUN tournament starts on Nov 21 and ends on Nov 23. In which they will likely be the eight seed of the conference just over NJIT.