NEW PALTZ — Bob Thorburn, a 1977 graduate of Clarkson University, has been hired to follow longtime coach Tony Bonilla as men’s and women’s volleyball coach at SUNY New Paltz.
Bonilla, a 1987 New Paltz graduate and a fixture on the Hawk sidelines for more than a decade, gave up coaching this spring to spend more time with his family. Over that period, Bonilla won nearly 60 percent of his matches, going 190-153 in 12 seasons with the New Paltz men and guiding the women to a 201-114 mark in eight seasons.
Thorburn, meanwhile, brings over 20 years of collegiate coaching experience to the recently upgraded full-time position. He has coached in all three NCAA divisions, and recently completed his first season as head men’s and women’s volleyball coach at NAIA II Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“It’s a big challenge. I’m really looking forward to the season,” Thorburn said. “We’ve battled Tony’s teams which are always banging on the (championship) door. We look to take that next step. I don’t want to let the program down.”
“I’m not going to be the same coach, but I’m going to try to get the teams playing the best they can to maintain the quality that Tony has had,” Thorburn added. “I’m looking forward to it with much anticipation.”
“Bob brings a wealth of experiences that will serve him well as he works to maintain our rich history in the sport of volleyball,” Athletic Director Jim Zalacca said. “I am confident that he will be a fine addition to our staff.”
Thorburn is no stranger to SUNYAC volleyball and the Mid-Hudson region, having been involved with SUNY Potsdam’s women’s team for 11 seasons – including serving as co-head coach from 1995-97 and head coach in 1998 – and having lived in Poughkeepsie from 1970-76, while working as a staff engineer for International Business Machines (IBM).
Thorburn was the head women’s volleyball coach at St. Lawrence University in 1985 and served in the same capacity at St. Michael’s College in 1977. He has also coached at Middlebury College (1994), and was an assistant coach at the University of Vermont (1979-81) and the College of New Jersey (1978).
He is involved with the World Volleyball Training Center in Port Jervis, NY, holds Level I certification in the national Coaching Accreditation Program, and is a certified National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) and USA Volleyball (USAV) official.
Thorburn will reside in nearby Montgomery with his fiancée Elaine Torda.