When Daniele Desiderio takes over as Palo Alto High's new girls volleyball coach this fall, he will bring with him some European flair and a wealth of experience from the professional indoor and beach volleyball circuit.
"I made my first official hire in my new position," said Jason Fung, Paly's new athletic director. "He (Desiderio) comes with high remarks and background and a pro career. I feel he has the experience and report with the kids."
Desiderio officially was hired on Tuesday. That news was broken to the new players attending an open gym at Paly on Thursday.
Originally from Catania, Italy, the 35-year-old Desiderio began playing professional volleyball at age 15. He was the second-youngest play ever to play in A1 Italy, twice winning the A1 Italian championship during his 13 years in the league.
He was both a member of the Italian Men's National Team for indoor (nine years) and beach volleyball (four years), winning the Italian Cup, the Champions League and twice the DCEV Top Teams Cup during his 20-year career as a player. He played in nine FIVB World Tour tournaments.
As a member of Italy's U19 team, he was the Most Valuable Player and Top Spiker of the 1997 FIVB Boys U19 Volleyball V World World Championships in Tehran, Iran.
As a coach, Desiderio has guided pro teams in Dubai plus Tuscan champion U17 and U19 squads.
After a very successful and decorated career, Desiderio now brings his expertise to the sand along with partner David McKienzie, a 2012 Olympian, at the SVB Academy in Mountain View. Desiderio also is a coach with the Mountain View Volleyball Club.
"All the parents who knew of him had high remarks of him," said Fung.
When asked why he coaches, Desiderio replied: "Very passionate on volleyball since very young, wish to share my long playing experience and inspire young players to achieve their goals."
Desiderio will have a short commute to coach the Paly girls, as he lives in Palo Alto with his wife, Olta, and son, Gabriele.
Desiderio replaces veteran Dave Winn, who won CIF Division I state titles in 2010 and '11. He left this summer to become the new head girls volleyball coach at Mountain View High.
"He (Desiderio) comes with a recommendation from Dave Winn," Fung said. "They coached together in club volleyball."