Aug. 10, 2000

Upon entering his first season as the new head volleyball coach at Oklahoma, Kalani Mahi answered some questions regarding his plans for the program and the forthcoming season.

What are your expectations for this season?

I expect our team to have some great senior leadership and be able to compete with every school in the conference by combining our individual talents into a strong unit.

What will you stress at the beginning of the season?

Hard work, effort, and learning will be the three "buzz" words for our team throughout the season, especially preseason. Because this is our first preseason for both the returning players and newcomers, we will be dealing with many transitional issues (different terminology, systems, expectations, etc.) We expect our players to work hard and learn in three major areas: technically, physically, and mentally.

What type of team can Sooner fans expect to see this season?

I really like an up-tempo style of offense and a hard-nosed, hard-working defense. We expect our team to give 100% effort, 100% of the time, both in our practice and match play.

How do you think the new recruits fit into your system?

I feel that our new recruits will fit very well into our system. Our six newcomers are good volleyball players, as well as good people. Our new class brings a combination of athleticism, skill, and the intangibles (hard work, focus, concentration, etc.) that you search for in good players.

Talk a little bit about your coaching staff and how you intend for them to complement you.

Our greatest strength as a staff is the experience level, we bring nearly 40 years of coaching background to OU. I have great confidence and trust in delegating any area of responsibility (training, budgeting, promotions, etc.) to my staff and I know it will be handled in a professional manner. We also come from similar volleyball roots, so I know that there will be consistency in the techniques and systems that we will be implementing.

What strengths do you feel you can contribute to this program/university?

Energy, hard work and effort. I feel that if I expect my staff and athletes to work hard and give great effort, then I must lead by example. I also feel that there is a strong sense of family and I believe that having a duo husband wife coaching staff compliments this feeling on campus.

What are the benefits of playing in one of the toughest volleyball conferences in the country?

There are numerous advantages to competing in the Big 12 Conference. From a recruiting stand-point, the conference brings instant name recognition. In order to recruit nationally and internationally, the student-athletes that we are evaluating know the strength of the conference and are attracted by the possibility of competing against a nationally-ranked schedule. Another advantage is the fact that you will be playing tough teams night-in and night-out. Our staff and players know that we have to train at a high level if we want to compete at a high level. All the teams have great players and are coached by outstanding coaches.

What are the goals or keys for the Sooners to have a successful season and return to NCAA post season play?

In order for us to have a successful season we have to commit ourselves to working hard to improve, over this season, our individual and team play in three major areas: physically, technically, and mentally. Physically, we must possess the ability to perform at a high level for up to three hours in a match over a three month season. Technically, we need to continue to improve our overall skill level, in particular our ball control. We will implement a fast, balanced offense, which relies heavily on our ability to serve receive and defend. Mentally, we must possess the ability to concentrate, focus, work together as a team, and keep a positive attitude.

What role do academics play here at OU?

Academics must be a high priority for our athletes. Volleyball may help them finance their school for the next four to five years, but their education and degree will support them for the rest of their lives. Our Prentice Gautt Academic Center staff offers incredible support services for our student-athletes. They are committed to helping our student-athletes receive an education, as well as finding employment when they finish their eligibility.