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TAMPA — After leading Berkeley Prep to 15 state volleyball titles in 28 years, Randy Dagostino is retiring as girls coach to become more of a spectator.
Mackenzie Dagostino, Randy’s daughter, is a senior at Berkeley who has signed to play with Maryland next season, and he wants to be able to watch her play, as well as focus on the Bucs boys volleyball team, which includes son Kyle, a sophomore.
“That was the overriding reason, (my wife, Lauri, and I) wanted just a little bit more flexibility in our lives so we could continue to support our children,” Dagostino said. “And it will be an interesting sort of thing, to be able to do what I’ve done all these years and continue it on a different level by watching my daughter and other players in college.”
The club team he founded in 1984, the Tampa Bay Juniors, also will not field a girls team after this season.
Dagostino, 62, said he'd been thinking about retirement on and off for the past year. During his tenure, he built Berkeley Prep into one of the top high school programs in the nation, going 829-161 to rank 33rd on the National Federation of State High School Association's all-time girls volleyball coaching wins list. Dagostino arrived on campus in 1981 to be the athletic director and head baseball coach, the same jobs he had held at Tampa Prep in the previous five years. He took over the girls volleyball program in 1983 and had his first state title three years later.
He would win 14 more, which ties Berkeley Prep with Tampa Prep for most titles in the bay area.
"Somewhere in his mind, he wanted to at least get to 15," Lauri said. "I don't think he said, 'Oh, I need to get to 16.' It was wonderful to be able to reach that mark with his daughter and have her on three championship teams."
And, as Dagostino noted, the Bucs were able to catch the Terrapins in a relatively short time period.
"For us to be able to say that we’ve gotten equal with Tampa Prep is quite an accomplishment in the amount of time our program has really been going," Dagostino said. "There's no need to stick around to be able to say you're the top dog."
Dagostino has been named the Florida High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year seven times and won the Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year Award three times, most recently in 2010 and '11. He was inducted into the FHSAA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Mackenzie and teammate Jordan Burgess, who this season became the first player from Florida to win the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award, are among the 85 players Dagostino coached at Berkeley that received Division I scholarships. Dagostino’s players have also received five Florida Dairy Farmer Miss Volleyball titles (two for Burgess), state player of the year awards and dozens of All-America honors.
Mackenzie recently received the Andi Collins Award, which goes annually to the top senior setter. That, Dagostino said, is the highlight of his career.
"To have a player of mine and have my daughter win that award, whether it was in my last year of coaching or my first year, would have been something I remembered forever," he said. "And Jordan winning the Gatorade National Player of the Year. How could a coach ask for anything more than to have two players win two national awards in a given year? That's going to be highlight."
Dagostino will stay on as an assistant coach for the girls team, which will now be led by John Coup, Dagostino's assistant for 14 years. Dagostino will continue to coach the boys team and remain coach of the Tampa Bay Invaders, his son’s club team.
“You cannot have a serious conversation about volleyball in the Tampa Bay area or across the state of Florida without a mention of Randy Dagostino,” Berkeley athletic director Bobby Reinhart said in a news release. “He is truly a coaching legend. He has set the standard for volleyball success, and we thank him for putting Berkeley volleyball on the map.”
Randy Dagostino by the numbers
Career record: 829-161
Postseason record: 96-10
State tournament record: 35-6
State volleyball championships: 15
Career winning percentage: .837
Years as Berkeley Prep coach: 28