The Eye on the Ball radio show on Tuesday night with co-hosts Jay Gonzales and Steve Rivera included Tucson Roadrunners president Bob Hoffman — discussing the AHL season coming to an end because of COVID-19 — and Arizona volleyball coach Dave Rubio talking about various topics including his ballroom dancing video.
The show is on KVOI (1030-AM) weekdays at 6 p.m. and can be heard streamed live online.
Hoffman was asked about his team’s season cut short recently and the plans going forward.
“We’ve been really working in our planning for 2020-21 really for the last several weeks regardless and now it’s just kind of official that’s exactly where we’re looking ,” Hoffman said. “Unfortunately, we have to pull the plug on next year.”
The Roadrunners, the farm club of the Phoenix Coyotes, are considered the AHL Pacific Division champs after spending the final 131 days of the regular season in first place, spanning 47 straight games. Tucson never relinquished control of the division’s top spot after a 5-3 win in San Jose on Nov. 3. The Roadrunners have the best record in the AHL’s Pacific Division over the last three seasons at 112-65-11-6 and a .621 winning percentage.
Rubio is about to enter his 29th season at Arizona if COVID-19 does not affect the plans to start in late August. The Wildcats are scheduled for now to report for the first practice on Aug.10.
He has led the Wildcats 14 times to 20-win seasons and 20 appearances in the NCAA tournament. In 2018, became the second coach in Pac-10/12 history to win 500 career matches. He leads all active conference coaches with 512 victories as a Pac-12 coach.
He said his feeling is that his team will have an “abbreviated season” because of COVID-19 and the possibility exists his season will be in the spring, a move he backs as of now. Much will depend on the decision for when the football team will be scheduled to play “because we run side-by-side,” Rubio said.
“It would actually be beneficial for us if we had the time in the fall to train and get the kids ready then there would not be a need for us to come in (during) the summer,” Rubio said. “With the budget being the budget and everyone taking the hits that we’re taking, I think it would be a good thing if we didn’t have to go to summer school (starting July 13) and we can start school in the normal time in August, take the four months for the winter semester and start our season in the spring.”
Rubio also talked about his nine-member incoming recruiting class that is ranked No. 7 nationally by VolleyHigh.
Arizona was the only school in the country to have four of Prep Volleyball’s Top 100 Senior Aces — No. 20 Jaelyn Hodge, No. 50 Lauren Ware (who will also play for Adia Barnes’ program), No. 68 Emery Herman and No. 73 China Crouch — and a fifth, Shelby O’Neal, was in the 10 that “Just Missed the Cut” making Arizona the only school in the country with five of the top 110 players ranked by Prep Volleyball.
Coach Rubio showing us he knows a little more than just volleyball 💃🕺 pic.twitter.com/BggRhyo4BD
— Arizona Volleyball (@ArizonaVBall) April 4, 2020
“We have a tremendous amount a talent, as much talent that I’ve had maybe since 2002 when we had Kim Glass, Jennifer Abernathy and Bri Ladd, who was at that time ranked the No. 1 class in the country,” Rubio said.
Rubio commented about Ware, who suffered an ACL injury that required surgery nine months ago: “She’s ready to go. Whenever we start, whenever we’re allowed to get those players on campus, she’ll be there with our group for volleyball in the fall and she will switch over to basketball as soon as our season is finished.”
And of the ballroom dancing video he released with his mom and three of his players in the background?
Rubio explains he took ballroom dancing classes as part of his physical education major at Cal State Northridge. When he got hired at Cal State Bakersfield, he had to teach classes, and he requested to teach Remedial Ballroom Dancing 101.
“I think it’s just really good when the players can see the head coach in a different light,” Rubio said. “It helps me relate to them better and them to relate to me better.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.