Women's Volleyball

Volleyball coach Tom Pestolesi headed to Hawaii this fall

Volleyball coach Tom Pestolesi headed to Hawaii this fall

Long-time women's volleyball coach Tom Pestolesi will be stepping away from Irvine Valley this coming fall.

But just for a few months.

Pestolesi, who has guided Irvine Valley to three Orange Empire Conference titles in a row along with the program's first-ever state title in 2014, is headed to the University of Hawaii to be a volunteer assistant under for the women's team there under Dave Shoji - his former coach and mentor - during the fall of 2016.

The trip will be part of a five-month sabbatical for Pestolesi. He will be back to coach the women's beach program at Irvine Valley in the spring of 2017.

"I am extremely excited and honored to come back to Hawai'i to work with Coach Shoji and his staff and the players. It is great to be back at UH." said Pestolesi.

Pestolesi will also get to work with one of his former players at Irvine Valley in Annie Mitchem.

Mitchem, who will be a senior middle hitter for the Rainbow Wahine, was a two-time AVCA national two-year college player of the year at Irvine Valley.

After playing two seasons at Long Beach State from 1979-80, Pestolesi transferred to Hawaii where he earned All-America honors in his junior and senior years under Shoji, who was the UH men's volleyball head coach from 1979-85.

He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from UH in 1983 and also earned his master's degree from Long Beach State in 1989. Pestolesi played for the U.S. team at the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania in 1981 before beginning his coaching career.

Pestolesi coached at a trio of high schools and then for the Professional Beach 4's Tour before starting the IVC men's volleyball program in 1991.

Since that time, Pestolesi has served many roles at Irvine Valley. He won three state championships as the head men's volleyball coach from 1991-94 and 1999-2009 with a career record of 163-95. Pestolesi has been the head women's volleyball coach since 1998 with a career record of 302-102.

Pestolesi then started the IVC women's beach volleyball program as the head coach in 2010 and at the same time introducing it as an intercollegiate sport to the California Community Colleges. His beach teams have earned a 20-1 record against community colleges and the Lasers were the ICCCAA state champions in 2015 and the state runners-up in 2016.

He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame by the state community men's volleyball coaches this past spring.

During his time at IVC, Pestolesi also spent time as a coach with several of the U.S. National teams. He was the USA Men's and Women's Training Coach from 2008-13 and was an assistant on the women's indoor team, winning a gold medal at the 2012 Pan Am Cup (Juarez, Mexico); silver medal at the Final Four in 2009 in Lima, Peru; and a fourth place finish in the NORCECA Tournament in 2009 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

And Pestolesi is married to Diane Sebastian Pestolesi, who is considered to be the first blue-chip mainland recruit for Shoji and his young program in 1978.

Sebastian Pestolesi was the starting middle blocker for the 1979 AIAW national championship team and named to the all-tournament team.

She was a three-time AIAW All-American (1978-80) and the 1980 Broderick Award winner as the nation's top collegiate volleyball player.

A U.S. national team member, she was named the 1981 Hawaii state female athlete of the year and in 2013 she was inducted into UH's Circle of Honor. The two have three children who reside in Huntington Beach.

His daughter, Kari, who has worked as a coach at Concordia and Irvine Valley, was recently named the new women's head coach at Cerritos College.

"Tom will bring experience and expertise to the program." Shoji said. "He has coached at every level of volleyball, including stints with the U.S. National teams. He and I have kept in touch over the years and I know he understands the ins and outs of our program."

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