New Women’s Volleyball Coach

Behind every strong man is a strong woman–or so the adage goes. While this is often used in reference to politicians and their significant others, it could well be tweaked to fit this year’s installment of the Dinos women’s volleyball team.

Often hailed for his recruitment, motivation and tactical ability, Head Coach Kevin Boyles has another talent that often goes unnoticed: his ability to assemble a top notch team of coaching minds around him. With the departure of Scott Handley, a big pair of shoes needed to be filled, and it seems Boyles has found the woman to do it.

Mirka Pribylova, a dominant force in Canada West volleyball with the University of Alberta Pandas from 1995-98, has been added to the Dinos fold as Boyles and his squad seek their fourth consecutive berth at nationals and first CIS title since 1994.

"Those were probably the best years of my life," the 33-year-old native of Brno, Czech Republic reminisced on her illustrious CIS career. "I had a hard time when I first came to Canada because it was different culturally, so as soon as I got to play volleyball it was my world again and it made adjusting so much easier."

Well-decorated by anyone’s standards, Pribylova has an impressive litany of accolades and accomplishments. She was MVP of the national tournament in 1995, CIS Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997, a first team All Canadian in each of her four years and a leader on a Pandas squad that won the national title every year she was there.

Since graduating in 1998, Pribylova spent five years on the Canadian national women’s volleyball team. Prior to obtaining Canadian citizenship, she also played internationally for the Czech Republic and has played professionally in Switzerland and Germany.

"It helps with having experience in general," she says of what her playing career adds to her coaching ability. "I’ve played in a lot of situations and seen a lot of situations. I got used to every situation and every personality and now I can apply that to this team."

The early reviews are glowing, from Boyles and all the women on the team.

"She brings so much, coming straight from the national team," enthuses captain Amanda Moppett. "She brings so much knowledge and understanding of the game and she’s is just hilarious, we have the best times with her. She keeps everything positive, she has such a great attitude.

"She brings a swagger and a confident attitude we need if we’re going to go into every game knowing we can win," Moppett adds.

Pribylova, Boyles and the rest of the Dinos, ranked #1 nationally heading into the season, will open their campaign Oct. 23 and 25 at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium against Pribylova’s alma mater, the U of A.

"It’s going to be weird," Pribylova explains about facing her former club. "I don’t know any of the girls on the team anymore, but coaching against Laurie (Eisler, the Pandas Head Coach) will be a strange experience."

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