Val Belmonte, former director of the coaching program for USA Hockey in Colorado Springs, Colo., is the College's new athletic director.
He succeeds Dick Sakala, who retired at the end of June.
Belmonte, who assumed his duties July 10, said that an essential component of his philosophy is “a sense of balance and proportion. Union's athletic programs' pursuit of success should never come at the expense of the College's values, and the College must be viewed as a place where student-athletes come to compete, improve themselves, and prepare for life's greater challenges.”
President Roger Hull, announcing the appointment, said Belmonte “brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and, most importantly, a strong commitment to the philosophy of athletics at the Division III level.”
Belmonte, forty-nine, is a 1973 graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago. He earned his M.Ed. in physical education and education administration from the University of North Dakota, where he also served a year as assistant hockey coach. He was an assistant hockey coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago from 1976 to 1979 and an assistant at Harvard from 1979 to 1982. He returned to Illinois-Chicago as head hockey coach and later also served as assistant athletic director. He was with the USA Hockey since 1991.
Belmonte said the programs he has been associated with “emphasized the pursuit of excellence in academic endeavors, social development, sportsmanship, and an environment where student-athletes have the opportunity to reach their optimum level of athletic performance. These are the same characteristics that inspired me to apply for the job at Union. I'm very excited to be able to lead such a prestigious academic institution — one that has enjoyed a great deal of athletic success — into the next century.”
Belmonte is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee's Coaching Committee and is the author of a book and journal articles about hockey. He and his wife, Rita, have two sons, Tony, twenty-six, and Michael, twenty-two.