WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNCW Head Volleyball Coach Amy Bambenek has announced the promotion of Assistant Coach AJ Bonetti to Associate Head Coach with the program.

“AJ has been an important piece to the growth of our program these past five years,” said Bambenek. “He has shown a lot of dedication and countless hours in the office with the goal of developing our players to ensure they maximize every opportunity.

“One of the biggest impacts AJ has made is in recruiting.  In a short amount of time, he has made a lot of club and high school connections and always has his ear to the ground to identify new talent.  He is well known throughout the Wilmington community and represents the best of our program. I’m very excited for AJ and the future of Seahawk volleyball.”

An assistant coach with the Seahawks for the past five seasons, Bonetti has played a key role in the turnaround of the program.

The Mechanicsburg, Pa., product has helped the Seahawks record double-digit victories in four of his five seasons in the Port City, highlighted by an outstanding 2013 season that saw the squad post a 20-10 overall record and reach the 20-win milestone for just the eighth time in program history. The Seahawks captured three regular season tournament titles and earned a berth in the Colonial Athletic Association Championships for the first time since 2000, advancing to the semifinals before falling to tournament finalist Northeastern.

Bonetti has also been instrumental in player development. Senior Christi Laite became just the second player in school history to earn All-CAA accolades on three occasions when she was a First-Team All-CAA selection in November. Freshman Nicole Lott was the first rookie in school history to earn both All-CAA and CAA All-Rookie Team honors, while sophomore Meredith Peacock garnered Second-Team All-CAA honors after leading the league and ranking among the top 10 players in the nation in blocks per set.

“I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from Coach Bambenek and the Athletic Department at UNCW,” Bonetti said. “It is a humbling honor, and it is always appreciated that your efforts are noticed by those whom you respect and admire. I am grateful to continue to work with Coach Bambenek, Athletic Director Jimmy Bass and all the incredible student-athletes we have here. UNCW is a special place with incredible student-athletes and I look forward to continuing to help this program reach its goals of winning championships in the CAA."