After joining the Blue Devils in 2009, Cristina Pintilie returns for her sixth year on the Duke volleyball staff in 2013. Among other duties, Pintilie assists with team training, recruiting and scouting for the Blue Devil volleyball program.
Since her arrival in Durham, Pintilie has helped the Blue Devils to a 118-44 (.728) overall record and a 72-30 (.706) mark in ACC play. The Blue Devils have finished in the top three in the league in all but one season since her arrival, capturing the conference crown in 2010 and 2013. With her help, Duke has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons, including 2010 when the Blue Devils enjoyed a run to the NCAA Regional Final before falling to eventual national champion Penn State.
Pintilie has also aided in the development of nine All-Americans, 10 All-East Region selections and 12 All-ACC picks, including 2013 ACC Player of the Year Emily Sklar, 2010 ACC Player of the Year Kellie Catanach and three-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year Ali McCurdy. Catanach finished her career ranked second on Duke’s all-time list and ninth in ACC history with 5,364 assists, while McCurdy broke Duke’s career digs record.
In addition, Pintilie helped guide middle blocker Christiana Gray, who became the 21st Duke player to reach 1,000 career kills in 2012. Gray wrapped up a stellar career last season, leaving her mark in both the Duke and ACC record books. With 1,112 career kills, she ranked 18th in the school record books, while her .350 career hitting percentage is good for third all-time at Duke and eighth in the ACC. Gray also totaled 491 career blocks and averaged 1.03 blocks per set. Those numbers ranked fourth and tied for seventh in Duke history, respectively.
Duke’s defense was among the best in the country during the 2010 season, Pintilie’s second in Durham, which was due in part to the development of middle blockers Gray, Becci Burling and Amanda Robertson. Each of those three were named All-ACC and All-East Region while helping Duke hold opponents to a .173 hitting percentage, which was the second lowest in the ACC. The Blue Devils earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive season and advanced further in the tournament than any team in program history. After securing the 2010 ACC Championship, the Blue Devils won three NCAA Tournament matches to make the NCAA Regional Final, becoming just the third ACC team to reach that round.
In her first season, Pintilie coached a Blue Devil squad that held opponents to an ACC-low .160 hitting percentage and went 27-6 overall and 17-3 in the ACC. A former middle blocker at Long Island, Pintilie mentored Duke’s middle blocking trio of Burling, Gray and Robertson, which emerged as one of the top middle units in the conference. Both Burling, a junior, and Gray, a freshman, topped 100 blocks in 2009 while Robertson nearly tripled the number of blocks she posted as a freshman. Offensively, Pintilie oversaw a Blue Devil squad that led the ACC in kills and assists while ranking among the top three in hitting percentage, blocks and service aces.
Prior to Duke, Pintilie served two seasons as an assistant coach at Colgate, helping the Red Raiders to back-to-back winning seasons in 2007 and 2008 and two consecutive runs to the Patriot League Championship match. Pintilie assisted in all aspects of the program while at Colgate.
With her assistance, the Red Raiders finished 11-3 in the Patriot League in 2007 and 9-5 in conference play in 2008. Colgate was among the best all-around teams in the conference each year, finishing second in digs in back-to-back years and among the top five in hitting percentage, lowest opponent hitting percentage and blocks each season.
Pintilie mentored three two-time All-Patriot League players, a Patriot League Rookie of the Year and a Patriot League Co-Defensive Player of the Year. In her first year with the program, Pintilie assisted Colgate head coach Ryan Baker in collecting the Patriot League Coach of the Year award.
Pintilie’s coaching career began at Troy where she served as a graduate assistant for two seasons. With Troy, Pintilie assisted with the day-to-day operations of the program, coordinating team travel and equipment and working with the summer camps program.
Before beginning her career as a coach, Pintilie played three years as a middle blocker at Long Island University and helped the team capture the 2004 Northeast Conference Championship. During the championship run that propelled Long Island to an NCAA Tournament berth, Pintilie was named NEC Tournament MVP and to the All-NEC first team. A two-time Long Island team MVP in 2002 and 2003, Pintilie finished the 2003 season ranked fourth nationally in kills per set.
In 2012, the LIU Department of Athletics inducted Pintilie into its Hall of Fame as she became the first Hall of Fame inductee from the Blackbirds’ volleyball program.
A native of Romania, Pintilie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Adapted Physical Education from Long Island University’s Arnold and Marie Schwartz School of Sports Sciences in 2005. She went on to earn her Masters of Science degree in Sport and Fitness Management from Troy in 2007.