While it can be very exciting to celebrate the achievements of UT student-athletes, the achievements of UT’s coaches deserve recognition as well.
Brian Imperiale is the new assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team, but this past summer, he took on a different role. He coached for the USA Volleyball Florida Region that took home the bronze medal in Oklahoma at the 2014 High Performance Championships.
“It was a great experience,” Imperiale said. “I coached the best youth players in Florida. I got to be the head coach, and it was fun. We did better than expected. We were very happy [to win bronze].”
The team he led consisted of 12 players from all over the state of Florida. After tryouts held in the spring, the pool of players was narrowed down to 24.
In June, those 24 girls had a two-day training camp and from this camp, a final roster of 12 girls were chosen to play in Oklahoma. There, they competed against other high-performance teams from the United States and Puerto Rico.
The process of selecting and working with those players before the tournament was not like the way it worked at UT.
“[They are] totally different. [At UT, we are] building a team over a large period, every day,” Imperiale said.
This will be Imperiale’s first season here at UT and Head Coach Chris Catanach knows how important it will be to have him on the staff this year.
“He’s been a tremendous addition to our program here. We have a strong coaching staff. He did a great job with the High Performance team for Florida, which is not easy to do,” Catanach said. “His experience that he’s gained will help us grow.”
Imperiale also has experience being an assistant coach for other schools and club teams, including two seasons at the University of South Florida and three at Florida Southern College. In 2010, he was even named the Florida Region Male Coach of the Year.
Expectations are high for the Spartans this year as they prepare for their new season.
“We want to play for the national championship. That is our ultimate goal. We want to win the Sunshine State Conference, host the NCAA regional event, and then win that,” Catanach said.
He also recognized that last season they were very close to reaching those goals, but fell short. With a very young team this year that features only three seniors, they are hoping for an even better season than the last. Perhaps the addition of Imperiale to the coaching staff can give the Spartans a huge boost.
Imperiale’s role on the All-Star team may also help bring in new recruits in the future.
“For sure we’ve got some things in the works. [We are] always looking to recruit the best players in Florida,” Imperiale said.
The Spartans will start their season as they host four other schools in the Tampa Classic from Sept. 4 to 7.
They will then travel to Denver the following weekend, where they will face off against four different schools in two days at the Colorado Premier Classic.
Andrew Stamas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org