Adam Hughes’ first job as Maryland’s new head women’s volleyball coach was to back-fill his old position. While the 33-year old retained most of the staff when he was promoted from associate head coach, that meant that, by default, he still had one role to fill. He did just that on Monday when Maryland announced AJ Bonetti as the program’s new assistant.
Bonetti comes from Tennessee, where there was a deeper shakeup after the resignation of Rob Patrick after 21 seasons as the Volunteers’ head coach. New Volunteers head coach Eve Rackham brought on Tyler Adams and Whitney Miller to fill out her staff, meaning that Bonetti’s time on Rocky Top was over.
In Bonetti’s time at Tennessee, he worked primarily with the team’s front row and also served as recruiting coordinator. That includes coaching Erica Treiber to honorable mention All-America honors in 2016 when she had 2.58 kills per set, 1.06 blocks per set, and a .348 hitting percentage. He also served as interim head coach after Rob Patrick’s resignation.
“I am thrilled to announce that AJ and his family will be joining us in College Park,” said head Coach Adam Hughes. “AJ is somebody I’ve gotten to know and respect over the past few years and I’m excited that we’ve got this opportunity to work together. AJ brings us a wealth of recruiting experience as well as a great mind for the game. He’s a great fit for our culture and I know he will help us carry out our vision for building this program.”
Bonetti’s last stop before Tennessee came at UNC Wilmington, where he was an assistant for 5 years and associate head coach for 2. The Seahawks had three 20-win seasons and 10 All-CAA honors in his time there. They also won the CAA title in his final season there, 2015, to advance to the NCAA tournament.
While coaching at UNCW, he also served as the head coach of the Williamsburg Juniors 17s club program.
He also spent 2 years as a graduate assistant and volunteer assistant at George Washington to start his coaching career.
Maryland opened the 2017 season 11-0 last year before a series of injuries (including to their all-conference libero, as well as their captain and redshirt freshman middle blocker) derailed the team to a 7-14 finish to the year. The Terapins have been hit hard by transfers since, including that libero Kelsey Wicinski to Florida State, 2017 kills leader Gia Milana to Baylor, and also having Lexi Aden and Samantha Dreschel leave the program.
On the national scene, Bonetti has worked with the USA Volleyball men’s national team, serving as statistician for the team’s world league events in America in 2008. He also assisted in operational/facility management of all matches and worked as Director of Statistical Acquisition for the High Performance Championships in Tucson, Ariz., leading an eight-member team who acquired volleyball related statistical data at the event.
Bonetti is a native of Mechanicsburg, Pa. He earned his undergraduate degree in exercise physiology from East Stroudsburg University, where he played volleyball. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science from George Washington in 2008.