Santonastaso Completes Coaching Staff for 2017 Season

Santonastaso Completes Coaching Staff for 2017 Season

KINGSTON, R.I. – First-year head coach Steve Santonastaso has completed his coaching staff, keeping familiar faces in place for Rhode Island.

Santonastaso – who took over as Rhode Island's head coach in March after 12 seasons as an assistant coach – will have Iain McCoy and former Ram Franki Darnold on the bech with him in 2017. McCoy will enter his third season as an assistant with the program, while Darnold is in her first season as a coach.

"I'm very excited to bring this new staff together here in Keaney Gym," Santonastaso said. "Each of our staff members brings something different to the program and will create an atmosphere our athletes will thrive in. In a short time, we have developed a great working relationship and are all looking forward to a great 2017 season."

All three coaches are alumni of Rhode Island. Santonastaso graduated in 1993. McCoy, a native of Greenock, Scotland, graduated in 2013 while Darnold is a 2016 graduate.

McCoy was retained by Santonastaso after both worked together for two seasons as part of Bob Schneck's staff. After completing his degree in Marine Biology, McCoy joined Schneck's staff. He also spent five years playing and coaching with the Rhode Island men's volleyball club team team.

"After working with the program for the past two seasons, the opportunity to keep Iain on staff was critical to our transition to a new staff," Santonastaso said. "Iain brings a great energy to the program and works constantly to impact our roster in positive ways. Along with team operations, Iain's main focus in the gym will be to work with our middle blockers."

Darnold – one of the program's most accomplished players – finished her career in 2015 as Rhode Island's leader in kills during the rally point era with 1,356. That figure puts her third overall in team history. Since graduating, she has worked as a writer for the San Clemente Times and served on the game day communications staff for the Los Angeles Rams.

"We are very excited to welcome Franki back to our program in a coaching capacity," Santonastaso said. "She will bring a great passion to the program each day while drawing on her experiences here at Rhode Island to mentor our current roster as we work toward an Atlantic 10 Championship. Franki's primary on court responsibilities will be to work with the outside hitters in our program."

Rhode Island opens the season against New Mexico State at Notre Dame's Golden Dome Invitational Friday, Aug. 25. The Rams also play the Fighting Irish and Valparaiso the opening weekend. Rhody's first home events are Sept. 8-9 when it hosts Marist, Northeastern and Columbia for the Art Carmichael Invitational.