Tony Colavecchia enters his ninth season at the helm of the Cardinal men's soccer program with an enthusiasm for the future. He was charged with the task of building a national caliber team from a program that has only had four winning seasons since its existence.
"We are definitely on the right track, especially with the new facilities," says Colavecchia. "Louisville is a great place to coach and is on track to being the most well-rounded athletic department in the country."
In his eight seasons the level of expectations have been raised. Each season has been a building block to establish the program as a competitive Division I program that competes with the best in the nation.
Last season the Cardinals overcame adversity to finish third in the Conference USA standings, their best finish in school history. Colavecchia led the Cards to their best conference record of 6-3-1 and was named Conference USA Coach of the Year.
However the 2001 season left him with a rebuilding year. "It was difficult to replace six seniors who had played almost every minute," said Colavecchia. "They were pioneers for the program in terms of elevating our expectations to a new level."
Colavecchia's 2000 squad set the foundation for the future of Louisville soccer. They tied the school record for most wins with 12 and set a new school record with 10 shutouts. It was also the first time Louisville won a first round Conference USA Tournament game since going to the six team field.
The 1999 Cardinals recorded their first winning season since 1985. The Cardinals also finished ranked fourth in the conference, then their best finish in school history.
In just his second season, the Cards improved upon their win total from Colavecchia's first season. Louisville notched three Conference USA wins to finish in the middle of the final standings. Then, on October 3, 1997, Louisville recorded arguably the biggest upset in the program's history with a 1-0 overtime win over eventual Final Four participant Saint Louis.
In his first season at the helm, the Louisville men's soccer program made progress. The men's program improved on their previous season's record and also notched their first Conference USA win. Louisville's 4-0 win over Oral Roberts on September 8, 1996 marked his career win number 100.
Since taking over the reigns at Louisville, Colavecchia has brought in players that keep rewriting the record books. He is responsible for bringing in 2002 Conference USA Co-Defensive Player of the Year Adrian Cann. Cann becomes the first Louisville player to receive the honor and is also the only Cardinal to be named first team All-Conference USA for three consecutive seasons.
Other Cardinal greats that have played under Colavecchia are Shawn Faria, current Cardinal Simon Bird, George Zabaneh, Stuart Langrish and current Cardinal assistant coach Jeremy Morales.
Before coming to Louisville, Colavecchia had been at the University of Southern Indiana for eight years, where he led the Eagles to a Division II national ranking in just three years. He posted a 68-25-9 record while USI was a Division II school and led the Eagles to a 29-27-4 record its first three seasons at the Division I level. In 1995, he led USI to a No. 10 ranking in the Great Lakes Region.
Colavecchia was named Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Coach of the Year in his first three seasons at USI (1988, '89, '90). He also was named the Met-Life 1989 Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year and led the team to four straight GLVC titles. During the GLVC title seasons, the Eagles had an overall record of 57-26-6 (.674 winning percentage) and a conference mark of 24-2-2 (.893 winning percentage).
Prior to his stint at Southern Indiana, he served as assistant coach at national power University of Evansville for two seasons.
Colavecchia played professionally and as a collegiate midfielder in England. He played his professional career with the Lincoln City Football Club. He graduated from St. Paul's College in Cheltenham, England in 1980 with a degree in physical education.
The 44-year-old Skegness, England, native holds an English F.A. coaching license, a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) A license and a NSCAA Advanced National Coaching Diploma.
Colavecchia has participated in about every level of coaching in the United States. He served as the Region II Staff Coach since 1986 and has held coaching positions in both Indiana and Kentucky.
He also served as the Director of Olympic Development for Kentucky. He also conducted both national and regional coaching clinics in Indiana and Kentucky. Colavecchia is currently the Coaching Director for Javanon Soccer Club and has helped establish Javanon as a national powerhouse.
Colavecchia and his wife Kimberly reside in Louisville. They have six children Chantel (16), Forrest (15), Carmine (14), Brik (14), Shelby (11) and Jackson (10).
Year School Record
1988 Southern Indiana 14-6-0
1989 Southern Indiana 15-8-1
1990 Southern Indiana 15-5-2
1991 Southern Indiana 13-7-3
1992 Southern Indiana 11-8-1
1993 Southern Indiana 9-9-2
1994 Southern Indiana 9-10
1995 Southern Indiana 11-6-3
1996 Louisville 6-11-2
8th in Conference USA 1-7
1997 Louisville 7-12-1
6th in Conference USA 3-4-1
1998 Louisville 9-11-0
8th in Conference USA 2-6
1999 Louisville 9-8-2
4th in Conference USA 4-4
2000 Louisville 12-9-1
6th in Conference USA 3-4-1
2001 Louisville 7-11-1
7th in Conference USA 3-6-1
2002 Louisville 9-11-2
3rd in Conference USA 6-3-1
C-USA Coach of the Year
Totals: 156-132-21 (.539)