Longtime UNC assistant soccer coach steps down

UNC

3 Sep 1998: Assistant coach Bill Palladino of the North Carolina Tar Heels watches Charlotte Mitchell #25 in action during a women”s soccer game against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Pleasant View Soccer Complex in Boulder, Colorado. The Tar Heels defeated the Buffaloes 2-0.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Legendary UNC women’s soccer coach Bill Palladino announced he is stepping down from his role at Carolina, ending a run that spanned four decades.

Palladino has served as an assistant coach to longtime head coach Anson Dorrance since 1980. Palladino was considered Dorrance’s chief assistant.

Though he is stepping down at Carolina, Palladino will continue to coach at the club level as an assistant coach with the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League, according to a release from the university.

“My time as part of the University of North Carolina women’s soccer program has been life-defining. The best way to describe my job since I first started coaching almost forty years ago is idyllic,” Palladino says.  “As I depart, I will take with me all the wonderful relationships I have established as the dominant memory of my part of this incredible experience.”

Dorrance shared his thoughts on his running mate:

“I am so sorry my long-time assistant and good friend Bill Palladino has decided to step down,” said Dorrance. “We built this wonderful program together and had so much fun doing it. We were teammates together at UNC in the early 1970’s spending our first year as red-shirts, retrieving errant shots for the varsity before they hit Kessing outdoor pool.

“The extraordinary seasons we had together and the amazing athletes we were honored to train are a part of the elite history of the American collegiate game and the storied legacy of the U.S. Women’s National Team. I hope he comes to every home game and sits behind our bench and tells me everything he is thinking like he always has for the past 40 years, so we can have every Tar Heel weapon available as we christen this beautiful new stadium later this month.”

Palladino was Carolina’s defensive coordinator throughout his tenure in Chapel Hill. His expertise on the defensive side of the pitch helped the Tar Heels achieve record-breaking defenses in 1987 and 1997 when the team posted an NCAA record 22 shutouts.

Defensively speaking their 1987 season was otherworldly as three NCAA records the team set still stand including save percentage (.957), goals-against average (0.082) and shutout percentage (.917, 22 shutouts in 24 games).

The Tar Heels have posted 35 consecutive winning seasons since Palladino’s tenure as an assistant coach. He was part of the Tar Heel staff which has led Carolina over his tenure to 22 national championships, 21 ACC Tournament championships and 22 ACC regular-season championships.

“I look at the program and I can’t separate it in terms of Anson and Dino.  Our success is because of both of their influences in our lives.  Dino brought such joy to training.  Even on the worst of days you looked forward to going to practice because of his energy and guidance,” said Mia Hamm, a four-time NCAA champion from (1989-90, 1992-93) and two-year consensus National Player of the Year. “I trusted him obviously with my development as an athlete but also with elements of my heart and my mind.  He took that responsibility with such attention and grace.  Those were key elements to my growing as a player and as a person. He has been such an incredible friend all these years. I am sad to see him go but I know from personal experience that whoever he touches in his life from here on out will have their lives enhanced in a way that is hard to put into words.”

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