Dominick Adornato '11 will take the Head Volleyball Coach's reigns for the upcoming 2021 season for the Wildcats. Adornato is the successor to Greg Herceg '09. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Herceg was not able to coach for the Wildcats. Adornato will be the fourth head coach in program history.
As a student-athlete at Saint Ignatius High School, Adornato was passionate about volleyball. While playing basketball for the Wildcats, Adornato was injured and began training for the next season. The former Head Volleyball Coach Casey Marcelo asked Adornato to try out for the volleyball team. "Marcelo saw me working out in the gym and asked me to try out for volleyball my sophomore year," says Adornato. "I fell in love with volleyball and became a three-year letter award winner."
As Adornato's knowledge of the game grew, so did his passion, as he would go on to the University of Kentucky and compete at the Division I level for volleyball. "Very surreal to play volleyball at Kentucky," Adornato says. "I was playing with guys that have been playing volleyball since a very young age, and I was behind about 5-6 years playing experience."
Adornato graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2017 with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Business communication. Coaching has been in the blood of Adornato for years. While as a student-athlete at Kentucky, Adornato was the JV Head Coach for the women's volleyball team at West Jessamine High School, where he had a record of 37-3 in three seasons of coaching.
In 2017, Adornato became a Head Volleyball Coach at Seton Middle School, where he led seventh and eighth graders to a perfect 18-0 record and won the postseason championship. Adornato would return to the high school level in the fall of 2019, creating the first men's volleyball team in school history at Western Reserve Academy. Adornato built the program from the ground up, training future coaches and players, and distributing practice plans, shot charts, and training regiments.
After stepping down as the Head Varsity Coach at Western Reserve Academy due to scheduling conflicts, Adornato was brought in by Everest Volleyball Club as the next Head Coach for 14U Boys. He was named one of the top young coaches in the region after acquiring a 21-10 record. His team was #1 ranked in the Ohio Valley Region under his reign as head coach.
Adornato returns to his Alma Mater for the 2021 campaign, as the hire was announced a little over a month before the season opens for the Wildcats. "This is a dream come true," says Adornato. "To be able to come back home and coach a powerhouse like Saint Ignatius is truly incredible."
"It became apparent to me that he has a pretty good depth of coaching through the club ranks and has worked with high school kids for years," says Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88. "The idea of building a team culture and sustaining that culture was significant for us in the hiring process."
Once the hiring was announced, Adornato wasted no time contacting his future players about the upcoming season. "I contacted every player," says Adornato. "I wanted to begin building that open trust and communication with my team."
This will be the first time for the current seniors since their sophomore season that they touch the volleyball floor. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was canceled in 2020. "High school season is all about these kids, all of these kids lost a year of development from last year," explains Adornato. "High School sports is one of my most memorable moments of my life, I'm excited for the kids to have a season this year."
As the volleyball season approaches at Saint Ignatius High School, Adornato brings his passion for the game to his players. "I'm very passionate; I see what the team needs and adapt to that atmosphere," says Adornato. "I want to teach these kids the mental aspect of the game; most of these student-athletes are already physical. These guys need to be mentally there without changing their serve or aggressiveness."
"It won't be hard for him to incorporate the mission of Saint Ignatius high school into his volleyball program," says Fitzpatrick. "His love of the game and passion for achieving success will be significant for this program.
The Wildcats are eager to take the floor for the 2021 season and will open up their season at home vs. the St. Edward Eagles on March 26. The first serve is set for 6 p.m. from Sullivan Gym.