Regarded one of the top assistant coaches in the nation, Gabi Carbone, a native of Brazil, enters her fifth season with the Cougar volleyball program. It's not a coincidence that in every season since her arrival, the Cougars have improved tremendously.
Serving as the Cougars defensive coordinator, Carbone's responsibilities include coaching the liberos and the defense, and assisting with on-court coaching in general, game preparations, match scheduling, coordinating team travel and player conditioning.
Carbone also handles the purchasing of all equipment, is the liaison with the university housing office, and is the recruiting coordinator for junior college and foreign student athletes in addition to overseeing the Houston volleyball camps and clinics.
During her time at Houston, Carbone has helped the team to winning seasons, one trip to the C-USA Championship game, their first since 1997, and one trip to the semi-finals after upsetting the then-reigning champions, Marshall.
Her commitment to the volleyball community extends far beyond the Cougar's program. She has helped to develop kids at Asics Willowbrook Sports Volleyball Club since 2001. Carbone is crucial in training and preparing kids to further their volleyball careers.
Carbone also brings a great deal of International experience to Houston's volleyball program. Being a native of Brazil, the number one country in volleyball, shows that Carbone has played at the highest level; making her an exceptional player. She is a critical instrument in the recruiting process of international players. Since Carbone arrived at the University of Houston, the team has significantly improved its defense and has been on the top of its recruiting classes, bringing in the best Brazilians, Canadians, Puerto Ricans players available. She also played a large part in the recruiting of Kariny Ritter and Cinithia Piva.
Last season, the Cougars finished the season with 20 wins for the first time since 2000 and finished fourth in league play. Carbone tutored Amanda Carson, who finished the season with a team-high 382 digs, which rank as the 10th most in single season history.
In addition, Justine Farmer finished her storied career at UH, by being named to the C-USA First Team and earning AVCA All-America Honorable Mention. She finished her career at Houston as the all-time school leader in kills (2,145), attack attempts (5.821) and games (475). Her 1,568 career digs also ranks as the third most in program history.
In 2006, the Cougars recorded their second straight winning season, and reached the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament. During an eight game span during conference play, UH earned five of six wins in three game sweeps.
Farmer was named First Team All-C-USA and was the only player in C-USA for the second consecutive season to be ranked in the leagues top-10 in kills and digs. Carbone's contributions helped Farmer finish the season with 645 kills, the second highest season total in UH history and 511 digs, fifth in program single season history. She also guided Ashley Calhoun to C-USA Libero of the Week honors.
In 2005, Carbone's ability to assist in leading the Cougars helped the team finish second in C-USA during the regular season and during the conference tournament. At the tournament both Ritter and Jackie Gonzalez were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Ritter, a three-time C-USA Player of the Week, finished the year ranked third in the conference and 24th in the nation with 493 kills (4.70 per game average). Gonzalez concluded her senior year under the wings of Carbone. She left UH as the career digs leader and the C-USA career digs leader. Gonzalez finish the 2005 season ranked sixth in the NCAA with a dig-per-game average of 6.12. She is now ranked second in the NCAA record book for digs with 2,451 digs in 473 games. All that was possible due to the unique defensive techniques coach Carbone has brought to the program.
Gonzalez and Ritter were named First-Team All-C-USA members, All-American Honorable Mention, and AVCA All-Midwest Region Team members. Gonzalez was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year.
Also ending her career in 2005 was Cinthia Piva. The Brusque, Brazil native and Carbone recruit was a three time C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll member. She played a crucial role in the Cougars game three comeback against SMU with two kills, two assists, and five digs.
During her first season as assistant coach at UH, Carbone guided Gonzalez to First Team All-Conference USA honors as well as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. Gonzalez set six C-USA and Houston records for digs during her junior campaign and Carbone played a critical role in Gonalez becoming the UH all-time digs leader.
Carbone's coaching played a significant role in the 2004 season, as the Cougars upset Maryland, the defending ACC champions, in the Park Plaza Kick-Off Tournament. Houston ended the year at the C-USA/SEC Challenge recording wins over both Alabama and LSU.
Under her direction, the Cougars ended the season with four players recording more than 200 digs for the season. They out dug their opponents 2,017 to 1,905 and were fourth in digs in C-USA.
After graduating from Houston in 2003 with degrees in psychology and kinesiology, Carbone coached volleyball and soccer at Houston Christian High School. She led her soccer team to a third-place finish in the state tournament.
As a former student-athlete for head coach Bill Walton in 2000-01, Carbone set the program record with 3.55 digs per game in the pre-libero era and was the team captain both seasons. She also is in the program's Top 10 with 0.35 service aces per game. Carbone was a member of the 2001 First-Team All-C-USA.
She finished her playing career with 756 digs and 74 service aces and she was a member of the 2000 NCAA Tournament squad that went 21-11.
Before coming to UH, Carbone was a standout in her native country of Brazil as well as at Seward County Community College in Kansas. She garnered JUCO All-American First-Team honors, AVCA First Team All American, Player of the year and several All Conference and All Region awards during her 2 years.
Carbone has been a key person for the Cougar's success. Coach Walton plans on having her in the program for a while to continue to influence the volleyball community and players.