Irvine Valley men's and women's volleyball and beach volleyball coach Tom Pestolesi was recognized by the California Community College Coaches Association at the "Honoring Our Own Professional Staff Awards Luncheon" at the Concord Hilton on Thursday afternoon as part of the 21st Annual CCCAA Convention.
Pestolesi has been a fixture with volleyball at Irvine Valley since the start of the men's program in 1991. He has also guided the women's indoor and women's beach volleyball teams.
The college, his student-athletes, assistant coaches and colleagues have been all the better for it.
He is the only coach in state history to win a title in men's indoor, women's indoor and women's beach volleyball and he recently crossed the 500-win plateau combined for men's and women's volleyball at Irvine Valley.
Pestolesi began his volleyball career at Huntington Beach High School, graduating in 1978. He then attended Long Beach State, majoring in Physical Education and competing in volleyball.
He transferred to the University of Hawaii and earned his degree in Physical Education in 1983. Tom was an All-American in volleyball at Hawaii in 1982 and 1983. He earned his Master's Degree from Long Beach State in 1989.
Pestolesi coached girls and boys volleyball for 15 years at the high school level at Estancia and then Newport Harbor with good friend Danny Glenn.
He started the men's volleyball program at Irvine Valley in 1991 and he was hired full-time in 1998 to coach both the women's and men's volleyball teams. He has led the men's program to state titles in 1993, 2007 and 2008 and the women's team to state championships in 2014 and 2017. Both the 2014 and 2017 women's squads went undefeated with records of 27-0.
The 2014 team won behind the stellar play of Orange Empire Conference player of the year and two-time, Two-year College National Player of the Year Annie Mitchem along with standouts Marisa Doran, Hailey Jones, Kobi Pekich and Hannah Matt. Irvine Valley recorded three-set sweeps in 21 of its 27 matches and dropped just seven sets all season.
This past fall, IVC's women's squad lost only eight sets all year on its way to an undefeated title behind the play of sophomore stars Olivia Aguilar, Megan Ramseyer, Taira Ka'awaloa, Diamond Brogan and Gabi Lau.
Pestolesi was named the Orange Empire Conference coach of the year as well as the regional coach of the year for community colleges by the AVCA in 2013, 2014 and 2017. He has been a conference coach of the year six times.
In his 19 seasons of guiding the women's squad at Irvine Valley, Pestolesi has a record of 329-102.
This is Pestolesi's 17th year in charge of the men's team at Irvine Valley. Heading into this season, he had a career record of 178-99 on the men's side.
Pestolesi was honored by being named to the California Community College Men's Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in the spring of 2016.
He is currently the Director of Volleyball at IVC and the head coach for the women's indoor team, men's indoor team and the women's beach team.
The women's beach volleyball program has been a success from the very start. The Lasers started playing as a club program in "sand volleyball" in 2012, taking on four-year schools.
And in the spring of 2015 when beach volleyball became an official CCCAA sport, IVC captured the inaugural championship and all three pairs titles on its home courts.
Doran and Pekich won the No. 1 pairs title, Mitchem and Emily Reinking took the No. 2 pairs title and Samantha Holdredge and Hailee Earnest took the No. 3 pairs title.
In 2016, Irvine Valley's top pair of Reinking and Earnest won the Pairs State Championship at Grossmont College.
Several players, including Allie Cook (Arizona), Pekich (Long Beach State), Doran (New Mexico) and Emily Reinking (Grand Canyon) have moved on from Irvine Valley to play beach volleyball at four-year, Division I schools, under Pestolesi.
Many of his former IVC players have gone on to have successful volleyball careers, including Mitchem, who starred at the University of Hawaii and is now playing professionally in Italy. He currently has two men and two women alumni playing at the professional level in Europe with dozens having played in pro leagues both indoor and at the beach during his career.
And those he coached at the high school level included John Wallace, Adam Lockwood, Todd and Brandi Brooks, Matt Feurbringer, Melissa Schutz, Misty May and Jennifer Carey.
Pestolesi has also coached professionally on the four-player pro beach tour and has had the good fortune to coach players such as Kim Oden, Stephanie Cox, Joy Makenzie, Antonette White, Janet Cobbs and Wendy Stammer.
And Pestolesi recently worked with women's national team as the squad's Head Resident Coach and was part of Pan American Games staff for the United States in 2015 that won a gold medal.
But he has done just as much off the court in leadership and with student-athlete success.
Pestolesi's women's teams have compiled a cumulative grade point average above a 3.00 in 15 of the last 16 semesters at Irvine Valley and have been named IVC Scholar-Team of the Year four times. His men's teams have achieved the 3.0 mark 11 times in the 16 terms.
He has also had three student-athletes named the Orange Empire Conference Character Champion, the most of any coach, at any college, in the OEC. Pestolesi's lead-by-example coaching perspective means the "Apples don't fall far from the tree".
He is literally the founder and driving force behind the CCCAA Beach Volleyball Championships. Pestolesi has served in leadership positions in both the Men's and Women's volleyball coaches association, and was in-fact the Founder of the men's association and President and Treasurer for the first 26 years of its existence.
And Pestolesi is a staunch supporter of professional development. He is regularly the lead technician at coaching clinics, and has created and led the only Beach Volleyball Summits and Clinics in CCC history in 2012 and 2016. Pestolesi is also the liaison with Kathy DeBoer and the AVCA on all issues related to beach volleyball in the CCCAA.
Pestolesi, who has been a Kinesiology professor at Irvine Valley for 20 years, is married to the former Diane Sebastian, who was a three-time All-American for the Rainbow Wahine volleyball program and they have three children; Tommy, Kari, and Danny.
Tommy was a star player at Long Beach State and played overseas and Kari was an All-American player at UC Irvine and has followed in her father's coaching footsteps. She is the women's volleyball coach at Cerritos College.