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Return Engagement

Former assistant coach comes back to lead the volleyball program

By Mike Gore

Hall of Fame

HOME-COURT ADVANTAGE: Santos coaches the women’s volleyball team to victory.

SORRY, THOMAS WOLFE, but you really can go home again. Frederico Santos started in June as the head coach for the women’s volleyball team; however, this is not his first time with the Bulldog athletic program.

Santos’ first job in college sports came in the summer of 2000 when he was hired at UNC Asheville as Julie Torbett’s assistant coach. He stayed for eight seasons and helped lead the Bulldog volleyball program to great heights. There were three trips to the Big South Conference championship game, six winning seasons and a 2002 regular-season title.

His first tenure in Asheville brought successes off the floor as well. He met and married for­mer Bulldog volleyball player Nathalie Steffen ’97 in 2001. They now have two children. And he earned his history degree from UNC Asheville in 2007.

By 2008, it was time for Santos to run his own program. He was interested in NCAA Division II school Barry University in Miami. “Being from Brazil originally, I tried to recruit players from there during my time at UNC Asheville,” said Santos. “And most of the time we would lose those players to Barry, which has a strong international program.

“Being the head coach at Barry is a challeng­ing job,” he added. “They have won three national championships in Division II and you are expected to challenge for national titles each year.” He quickly got the program moving forward and had it ranked nationally in 2009 and making the NCAA Tournament in 2010. Though Santos enjoyed Barry and Miami, he hoped to move closer to Asheville.
“We always wanted to come back to Asheville,” admitted Santos. When Torbett resigned in February, he and his family didn’t have to think long about applying.

"I am so proud to serve my university," he added. "My family is so happy to be here again," Santos said. "We're home."

Hall of Fame

Men’s Basketball:

The upcoming season at a glance

The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team is the preseason pick to win the 2011–12 Big South Conference champi­onship. The defending Big South Conference champions have four starters returning for the coming season.

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