In his coaching days, Val
Belmonte would leave his office every afternoon at 3 to shower, shave, comb his
hair and put on sweats for hockey practice.
“My wife thought I was insane,” recalls Belmonte, now in his third
month as Union's director of athletics. “But I was just getting ready for
the most important part of my day. I wanted to look and feel my best for my
So it shouldn't be surprising that Belmonte's career path with stops
along the way at USA Hockey and the U.S. Olympic Committee would eventually
bring him back to collegiate athletics. “I came to realize that my true
passion lies working within the collegiate athletic community, influencing
student-athletes' lives in and beyond the spectrum of sports,” he said.
The words of Belmonte's mantra crawl across his computer's screensaver:
“Achieving Sustained Competitive Excellence.” But he is quick to point
out that his philosophy is not one of winning at all costs. “Union
athletics' pursuit of success should not come at the expense of the College's
values,” he said. “The College must be … a place where
student-athletes come to compete, improve themselves, and prepare for life's
“Our immediate concern is to reorganize the department, creating an
environment for our student-athletes and coaches to reach their optimal level of
performance on and off the field,” Belmonte said. “We also need to
make plans to improve our athletic facilities.
“We want an athletics program that is competitively successful, while
operating ethically, and that is academically superior,” he said.
“It will take hard work, continually educating our coaches, and strong
financial support.” Noting that a number of Div. III athletics programs are
relying on major fundraising, he said, “We must now become financially
competitive with the rest of our competition.”
Most recently, Belmonte was director of USA Hockey's coaching program, a
position he held since 1991. Previously, he served as assistant athletic
director and head hockey coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago and
assistant hockey coach at Harvard University. He received his B.S. from the
University of Illinois-Chicago and an M.Ed. from the University of North Dakota.
He is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee's coaching committee, working
with U.S. coaches in a variety of Olympic sports. He is the author or editor of
publications including Coaches Ethics Code and a number of hockey
He and his wife, Rita, have two grown sons, Tony and Michael.