OXFORD, Miss. — A coach with 475 career wins and two NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit, former Tulsa head coach Steven McRoberts looks to be successful from year one, as he was formally introduced as the seventh head coach of the Ole Miss volleyball program Thursday.
“There are a lot of good things in place,” McRoberts said. “We already have a lot of good student-athletes here. We’re looking forward to having success year one. We’re looking to be successful in the Southeastern Conference right away. The Southeastern Conference had eight teams make the NCAA Tournament last year, and so it is our goal to be in that group next year.”
McRoberts has compiled a career record of 475-161 (.747 winning percentage) in 17 years as a head coach at Lubbock Christian University, Central Arkansas and most recently Tulsa, where he led the Golden Hurricane to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012.
“When you’re going into a program, the biggest challenge is getting them to believe that they can win and instill that competitiveness and confidence in them in those close matches,” McRoberts said. “That’s going to be at the top of the list for us. We have a lot of good players here. It’s going to be coming in here year one and establishing that we’re going to win, and we’re not going to accept anything else.”
A program with three NCAA Tournament appearances in its history, Ole Miss is coming off a 14-17 season, including a 4-14 mark in Southeastern Conference play, that included five five-set losses and six four-set losses.
McRoberts noted the challenge of moving from Conference USA to the Southeastern Conference, but he also sees the promise of the team’s competitiveness in those close matches last season.
“When you look at match and game scores last year, you’re going to see that they were competitive in a lot of the matches. One of the things I mentioned to the team yesterday is, ‘Let’s get together and figure out why we’re losing all these four-set and five-set matches.’ We want to be a team that when we get into those situations, we’re winning those and we’re confident that we’re going to win those.”
Ole Miss had been on McRoberts’ radar for a while, from Oxford’s proximity to family in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Little Rock, Ark., to the university’s welcoming atmosphere for female student-athletes and athletes in general.
In addition to success from year one, McRoberts also looks to engage and grow the fan base with an exciting style of volleyball.
“People like to come see winners,” McRoberts said. “We’re going to play an exciting style. We’re going to play an up tempo offense. We want to have student-athletes who are engaged in the community as well. Our job as coaches and players is to give fans a product that they want to come back and keep watching.”
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller
The Manning Center played host to 16 former Ole Miss players, including NFL Scouting Combine participants Cody Prewitt and Senquez Golson, attempting to make a lasting impact on the 27 NFL teams represented at Pro Day on Thursday. Prewitt, a... read more
NFL Scouting Combine participants Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt are among 18 former Ole Miss players expected to go through Pro Day workouts in hopes of realizing their professional football dreams. More than 25 representatives from 22 different teams were... read more
The Ole Miss women's basketball team heads to the 2015 SEC Tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas, having won three of its last four games to finish the regular season with a 17-12 overall and 7-9 SEC record and earn the... read more
Ole Miss welcomes back seven starters from the nation's No. 1 scoring defense, but two of those starters, seniors C.J. Johnson and Mike Hilton, will be starting the spring at different positions, with Johnson at Mike linebacker and Hilton at... read more
Ole Miss began spring practice Tuesday, and for the first time under head coach Hugh Freeze, the Rebels will have a starting quarterback not named Bo Wallace. With the graduation of Wallace, sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade, as well... read more
The Southeastern Conference announced today Kickoff '15, its annual football media days, will be held July 13-16, remaining at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. The event will continue to be four days in 2015. The... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewFeb. 24-March 2, 2015Track & Field - Ole Miss got SEC titles from Jalen Miller (60m), Daniel Bulmer (mile) and the distance medley relay, and the Rebels achieved their best SEC indoor finish since 1984.... read more
The calendar turned to March, as the men's and women's basketball teams march toward the SEC Tournament and postseason play. The baseball team faced perhaps its biggest challenge of nonconference play. The softball and men's tennis teams each had another... read more
The numbers and bracket projections may not be in his favor at this point, but head women's basketball coach Matt Insell is selling the NCAA Tournament selection committee on his team passing the eye test, as Ole Miss enters its... read more
BATON ROUGE, La. -- With an opportunity to perhaps lock itself into the NCAA Tournament, or at the very least enhance its resume, Ole Miss lost back-to-back games for the first time all season, falling on the road at LSU... read more
Despite the most recent home loss to Georgia on Wednesday night, Ole Miss remains a team projected to be solidly in the field, as the Rebels put their school record four-game SEC road winning streak on the line when they... read more
Here's a collection of snow days photos from Ole Miss Athletics Photographer Josh McCoy (@OleMissPix):The Pavillion at Ole Miss in winter! #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissMBB @OleMissWBB pic.twitter.com/nHyhVPlDvG-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) February 25, 2015 Awweeee.... #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissFB pic.twitter.com/R1BDZ0shvS-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix)... read more
If recent history is any indication, Ole Miss and Georgia are likely to go down to the wire on Wednesday night. Four of the last five meetings over the last three seasons have been decided by five points or less,... read more