Imoco Volley Conegliano has been one of the most successful Italian Serie A1 teams in professional women’s volleyball of late; the only downside is that the positive attention drew away their head coach of two years in Davide Mazzanti to become the head man of the Italian Women’s National Team. With an opening available at the helm of the squad, Conegliano opted to hire in house with the promotion two-year assistant Daniele Santarelli.
Santarelli, in his second year on the bench with Conegliano, took over the reigns briefly in-season when Mazzanti missed a match due to illness. Imoco Volley would win that match 3-0.
“It happened so suddenly that day,” Santarelli said in an interview with the Treviso Today. “I found myself catapulted to lead the team for the first time. It was exciting and at first I was a bit confused.”
An interesting note of Santarelli taking over means for the third straight season, Conegliano will have a married coach-player tandem. Davide Mazzanti started the trend as he was hitched with spiker Serena Ortolani. Santarelli will keep the theme going as his wedding date with libero Monica De Gennaro is set for June 24 according to the Treviso Today.
“Yes, curiously it repeats this situation, but will not be a problem at all,” Santarelli told the Treviso Today. “We are professionals. Monica is a great worker. It will be good to work together as we have done in these two years here.”
Santarelli’s coaching experience dates back to 2010, as he won league titles as an assistant with Casalmaggiore in 2014-2015 and Conegliano in 2015-2016. Prior to his coaching experiences, Santarelli had a playing career in Italian Serie A2.
Former coach Davide Mazzanti leaves big shoes to fill, as he racked up three Italian league championships since the 2010-2011 season. The most recent of which came in the 2015-2016 season when Mazzanti helped guide Conegliano to the title. In 2016-2017, Imoco Volley Conegliano was the clear regular season favorite as they finished 10 points ahead of second. However, they were upset in the semifinals to end their bid at back-to-back crowns.
Not only will Santarelli inherit a strong enough roster to contend for more league titles, but the internal hiring keeps familiarity and consistency around Imoco Volley. Although the loss of a coach like Mazzanti figures to be difficult, the plus side for Imoco Volley Conegliano is that the last two Italian Serie A1 Championships for Mazzanti (and the latest for Conegliano) came with Santarelli working by Mazzanti’s side.