October 27, 2020
Former UNLV assistant Ariel Apolinario has been named as Navarro College’s new head volleyball coach, NC Athletic Director Michael Landers announced Tuesday.
“We are excited to welcome Ariel to the Bulldog Nation to lead our volleyball program. His coaching background, ability to connect with young people and recruiting connections made him a perfect fit to be our next head coach,” Landers said. “Ariel understands the expectations for our program and will enable us to continue that success on and off the court.”
Since March, 2018, Apolinario served as an assistant for head coach Dawn Sullivan’s Rebels after spending two seasons in the same roles at Rice University (2016-18), Ohio University (2014-16), Austin Peay State University (2012-14) and Union College (2010-12).
Most recently, Apolinario helped UNLV produce 42 wins with back-to-back post-season trips to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship Tournament. The Rebels concluded 2019 ranked in the Top 100 in nine different statistical categories – second in aces (241), fifth in aces per set (1.88), 21st in kills (1,688) and team assists (1,568), 52nd in total attacks (4,358), 71st in hitting percentage (.233), 79th in winning percentage (.645), 83rd in assists per set (12.25) and 85th in kills per set (13.19).
At Rice University, Apolinario assisted as offensive coordinator and worked specifically with outside and right-side hitters. During that time, the Owls went 41-21, advanced to one C-USA Tournament Final, and to one National Invitational Tournament.
Two years earlier at Ohio University, Apolinario was a defensive coordinator, with focus on setters and middle blockers. The Bobcats went 48-14, including a pair of Mid-American Conference (MAC) East regular-season and conference tournament championships, plus a berth in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Apolinario also played two NAIA seasons at Newman University before its volleyball program was discontinued. He transferred to NCAA Division II member King University where he became a two-time, all-conference player and was recognized in 2010 as the school’s ‘Male Athlete of The Year’. He graduated from King with a degree in Spanish and a minor in coaching.
Navarro's reigning NJCAA Champion volleyball program continues preparations for its season-opening competitions scheduled for January 22-23 at the NMMI Classic in Roswell, NM.