WILMINGTON, North Carolina – After serving one year as the program’s Director of Men’s Basketball Operations, former UNC Chapel Hill standout and NCAA champion Dante Calabria (pronounced DON-tay Cal-LOB-bree-ah) has been elevated to assistant coach at UNCW for the 2012-13 season.
Calabria, 38, joined the program late last summer and helped Peterson and his staff in several different areas. He fills the position vacated after Brooks Lee resigned a few weeks ago to enter private business.
Calabria previously played professionally in Europe for 16 years after enjoying a successful four-year career with the Tar Heels from 1992-96.
“We’re very pleased that Dante will be one of our assistant coaches,” said Peterson, who begins his third season. “He has always wanted to become a college coach and has worked extremely hard to achieve that dream.
“Dante brings a great deal of valuable experience to the table. His passion for the game is evident on a daily basis and everyone associated with our program will benefit from his successful background.”
A native of Beaver Falls, Pa., Calabria appeared in 135 games and played on the 1993 NCAA Championship team in Chapel Hill. He was also a member of two Final Four teams (1993 and 1995) and competed in three Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship games, winning the title in 1994.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity and the new challenge,” said Calabria, who played on Italy’s national team in 2001 and 2005 and enjoyed a European pro career that covered courts in Italy, Greece, Spain and France. “I appreciate Coach Peterson showing the confidence in me to hire me for the operations position and now as an assistant coach. I’m going to do everything I can to help this team get better and win.”
Calabria, who earned Third-Team All-ACC honors in 1995-96, scored 1,098 points, dished out 336 assists and collected 116 steals. He averaged a career-high 12.7 points as a senior and ranks fifth all-time at UNC in three-point field goal percentage at .412. During his time on the roster, the Tar Heels went 111-28, including a 47-17 mark in ACC action and a 12-3 ledger in the NCAA Tournament.
Calabria earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from UNC in 1996.