Villucci Named New B-CU Men's and Women's Tennis Coach
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It was announced Wednesday, Oct. 19, that Val Villucci will be the head coach for Bethune-Cookman Men’s and Women’s Tennis, with the announcement coming from B-CU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lynn W. Thompson. Her duties as head coach are set to begin October 31.
Villucci, a 1981 graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, is no stranger to the Central Florida area.
“I am excited and happy about the hiring of Val Villucci as our new Director of Tennis,” said Thompson. “She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program, and she will is just what we are seeking when it comes to building upon the championship-caliber teams that we have in place for both the men and women here in Daytona Beach.”
While at Bethune-Cookman, Villucci will be responsible for leading the men’s and women’s programs for the Wildcats. Most recently, the Wildcats saw Alexander Chepik compete in the Oracle ITA Master’s tournament in California. Additionally, the women’s team won the 2015 MEAC title, advancing to the NCAA Gainesville [Fla.] Regional, while the men advanced to the finals of the league tournament that same season.
Villucci spent more than 20 years with the women’s and men’s tennis programs at the University of Rhode Island.
In August 2013, she was elevated to full time status as the head coach for the women’s tennis program. Having previously coached the URI women from 1993-2004, Villucci returned to the program in 2009 and guided the Rams to a 40-39 mark in dual matches.
Villucci also served as the head coach of the URI men's tennis team from 2004 until 2008, when the program was eliminated. In their final season, Villucci's Rams went 17-6 and broke into the April 22 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) weekly poll with a No. 102 ranking.
“The opportunity to coach Division I tennis in Florida has always been a dream of mine,” Villucci said. “I brought my Rhode Island team to Bethune-Cookman several years ago and was impressed with the program. I’m looking forward to building a championship caliber program.”
As a student-athlete at Rollins, she was a member of the nationally-ranked Lady Tars' tennis team. She is a former Virginia Slims competitor and was the top-ranked women's singles player in Rhode Island in 1983, as well as being part of the top-ranked doubles team in 1990. In 1992, Villucci won the United States Tennis Association (USTA) 5.0 mixed doubles divisional championship.
“Val [Villucci] is a great hire, and she inherits a wonderful group of kids that I have enjoyed getting closer to over the last few weeks and months,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director Robert “Tony” O’Neal, sport supervisor for the tennis program.
From 1983-89, she served as head coach of the boys' tennis team at Smithfield High School, where she guided the squad to the league championship in 1984 and a second-place finish in 1985. In 1989, Villucci left Smithfield to become a tennis professional for four years at The Tennis Club in Cranston, R.I., including two as the club's head pro.
“The opportunity to coach both the men’s and women’s program was definitely appealing,” Villucci said. “What also is exciting is the diversity and make up of international students. When there is diversity, the student athletes can help each other grow and develop a unique perspective and appreciation for other cultures and mindsets.”
Villucci holds a membership in the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) at the Professional-1 level and was a USPTA Eastern Regional Seminar Contest winner for her presentation called "Success at the College Level." She was inducted into the Sons of Italy Sports Hall of Fame in the spring of 2006.