The Men’s Volleyball team is welcoming a new coach with a familiar face.
Tony Bonilla, director of the EOP at New Paltz, is a Hawks’ volleyball player and coaching alumnus returning to be a serious part of the team that has been a major part of his life.
Starting next semester, Bonilla will join the Athletics staff as the assistant coach for the men’s volleyball team.
“I understand coach Petrus’s philosophy of coaching and it’s very similar to mine,” Bonilla said. “I believe we will complement each other on the court.”
Bonilla has been an active member of the SUNY New Paltz community since his time as a student. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002 for his 99-3 record as a player and compiled a 197-150 record in the 12 years he coached.
Because of the long hours, Bonilla gave up coaching temporarily to watch his kids grow up. Now that they are in college themselves, he has returned to the court with academic mentoring experience from EOP under his belt.
“I feel it is an extension of coaching,” Bonilla said. “I am helping students realize and utilize the different tools to enhance their college experience and reach their highest potential.”
Head Coach Radu Petrus is excited that Bonilla finally accepted the position and they are both eager to begin working together.
“I have high expectations for them on the coaching side and I don’t see any problem for them to meet those expectations,” said fourth-year Captain Mike VanTyne. “Both Radu and Tony know so much about the game it is kind of scary.”
The team captains aim to win the UVC Championship this year, having come very close last season, and hope their coaches can lead them to victory. Fourth-year Captain Kevin Stross has confidence in Petrus and Bonilla because they are both experienced head coaches. He said Bonilla will also be a great mentor.
“He has a knowledge and a passion for the sport that is infectious, and I know that our students will benefit from his expertise,” said Athletic Director Stuart Robinson.
Men’s Volleyball is eager to begin what will hopefully be a winning season. Because Bonilla has played with students in the off-season, he understands the players and their playing style and they are familiar with him.
Both players and coaches said that trust is imperative in volleyball and that the team is a tight-knit unit that believes in their ability this season.
“If we trust each other as people, we can trust each other on the court,” Stross said. “In volleyball, trust and confidence are the overwhelming factors toward the end of the game when it’s close.”
The team’s season begins in mid-November.