Bronxville, N.Y. – Concordia College's Neil Tarangioli claimed his 500th career victory as a head coach in men's tennis over the weekend. The feat came in a 5-4 come-from-behind victory against #13 Valdosta State in Pensacola, Fla.
"This may have been the greatest match in Concordia College tennis history," exclaimed Tarangioli following the victory. The Clippers were trailing after doubles play, 3-0. as a rain shower came into the area and delayed the start of singles action. Concordia then proceeded to drop the first set in four of the six singles matches once play resumed.
"The players willed this win," continued Tarangioli as he recalled his team battling back. "To see that Concordia won all four of the three-set matches is unreal," he concluded. The Clippers would earn wins in the one, two, three, and five singles matches after trailing in each of them. None of them as huge as junior Juuso Ojanen's (Varkaus, Finland) come-from-behind win.
Ojanen, at one point, trailed 7-6, 3-0 in his singles match and would battle his way to a 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory. "The drama, the comeback, the significance, and finally the energy by both the men's and women's teams during the match was unbelievable," exclaimed Tarangioli.
Concordia's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Ivan Marquez, had this to say about the coveted milestone: "It is wonderful to witness the awe inspiring coaching career of Neil Tarangioli. Facing one challenging season after another, Neil is a bonafide member of the elite society of winning coaches in the NCAA proudly belonging with John Wooden, Pat Summitt, Mike Krzyzewski, and Al Scates. Concordia-New York is truly blessed to have coach Neil Tarangioli in our athletics program."
Tarangioli, to date, is in his 34th season as head coach of the men's program after joining the Concordia family in 1978. He has guided the men's program to almost 20 NCAA Championship Tournaments and a #1 ranking in the East Region of NCAA Division II for the past eight seasons.
His teams have dominated conference play, winning 19 of 21 championships as members of the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference/East Coast Conference (ECC) and all four Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championships since joining the conference in 2009.
Neil has been named "Coach of the Year" at the conference level nearly 20 times and has been recognized as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) East Region Coach of the Year five times, all occurring since the 2005 season.
"This is a great milestone for me," concluded Tarangioli. "But more importantly it is a great milestone for the Concordia tennis program. I could not have accomplished this with out the help of those around me. To paraphrase the great Gale Sayers: 'Players are first, assistant coaches and athletic staff are second and I am third.'"