Sacred Heart hires NCAA Tournament experienced head coach

Photo courtesy of Lehigh athletics

The coach who led Rutgers-Newark to its last EIVA championship almost 30 years ago is coming back to the conference where his coaching career started.

Sacred Heart announced on Tuesday that it hired Robert Bertucci to be its new head coach for the upcoming season.

Bertucci led the Scarlet Raiders in 1990 to the EIVA title and the NCAA Tournament semifinals. As the head coach of both the Rutgers-Newark men’s and women’s volleyball teams, he helped his players earn six All-American honors and 26 all-conference accolades.

Following his stint at Rutgers-Newark, Bertucci spent more than 20 years as the head coach for NCAA Division I women’s volleyball teams.

The coach most recently guided Lehigh to six postseason appearances in seven years and was named the 2014 Patriot League Coach of the Year. Bertucci concluded his tenure at Lehigh following the 2017 season.

Bertucci in 16 seasons at Temple guided the Owls to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including reaching the regional semifinals in 2002. He also was a three-time recipient of the conference coach of the year and helped his players twice make the All-American Team.

Along with his college experience, Bertucci arrives to Sacred Heart having previously served on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team for seven years.

“I am pleased to welcome Bob to the Pioneer family,” Sacred Heart athletics director Bobby Valentine said in a statement. “He is a proven collegiate coach that has compiled over 900 victories during the course of a career that spans four decades.”

Bertucci replaces Greg Walker as the Pioneers head coach. Walker a year removed from coaching Sacred Heart to the 2017 EIVA Tournament semifinals stepped down this offseason to become an assistant coach at USC.

Sacred Heart finished the 2018 season in last place in the EIVA. The team, though, in its season opener almost pulled off a non-conference road upset before losing to Ball State in five games.