Tom Pestolesi, the Irvine Valley Community College men’s and women’s volleyball coach who formerly coached at Estancia and Newport Harbor high schools, was honored on Jan. 19 by the University of Hawaii, where he was a third-team All-American men’s volleyball player in 1983.
Pestolesi received the Pae Makaukau Alumni recognition award at the fourth annual A’o a Koa Scholarship Dinner, which supports the Rainbow Warriors volleyball program.
Pestolesi, a two-year letterman for the ‘Bows from 1982-83, originally played at Long Beach State before transferring to play for then-head coach Dave Shoji at Hawaii, where he was a two-time second-team all-California Intercollegiate Volleyball Assn. performer.
The Huntington Beach High graduate still ranks fourth all-time at UH with a career blocking average of 1.42 per set.
Pestolesi taught at Estancia, where he also coached the boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams. Among his former players included Adam Lockwood and Brandi Brooks, both of whom went on to star for Hawaii, as well as future AVP standout Matt Fuerbringer.
He moved on to teach at Newport Harbor High in 1993, where he coached Olympian Misty May as well as former Rainbow Wahine setter Jennifer Carey and USC All-American April Ross as an assistant to Dan Glenn.
Pestolesi helped start the Irvine Valley men’s team in 1991 and led the Lasers to state titles in 1993, 2007, 2008 and 2011.
He continues to coach the IVC women’s program while also overseeing the men’s program as its director of volleyball. As head coach of the IVC women, Pestolesi has led the Lasers to five state championship appearances with a runner-up showing in 2003 and third-place finishes in 2009 and ’13.
The Lasers won the most matches in program history in 2013 with a record of 24-2. Pestolesi was recently named the Two-Year Regional Coach of the Year.
An avid beach volleyball player, Pestolesi helped start the sport of women’s sand volleyball for the California Community Colleges and led IVC to the 2013 sand championship title.
He is currently the Hall of Fame Director for the California Community College Men’s Coaches Assn. and is the department chair for the Irvine Valley kinesiology department.
Pestolesi’s daughter, Kari, was an All-American outside hitter at UC Irvine after starring at Edison High.
His son, Tommy, played at Long Beach State.
— From staff reports