Alesia Vaccari
Class of 2002
´╗┐What have you done since graduating?: "After graduation, I attended Springfield College in Massachusetts. I got my Bachelor's Degree in Athletic Training and I was a four-year volleyball athlete there. Then I graduated and went back to school for my Massage Therapy Associate's Degree at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts. I wanted to pursue massage therapy and I got my 200-hour yoga certification as well.
I thought I wanted to pursue a career in holistic yoga and massage, but I missed volleyball so much.
I had the opportunity to be the assistant coach at Clarkson University up in Potsdam, New York. I was there for two years and I fell in love with coaching there. I had no idea that this is what I wanted to go into. I knew I wanted to do something in athletics and I thought I wanted to help athletes prevent injuries. But I missed the game so much that I got the coaching bug.
When I was there I worked with an amazing head coach and helped take that program to the next level. We were Coaches of the Year and our team made the first NCAA appearance in the team's history. From there, I got my first head coaching job at Simmons College, which is in the Fenway area and an all-girls institution.
I was there for three years and I took their program to the next level. We tripled our wins from my first season and we got Coaches of the Year when I was there.
From there, a job at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts opened up.
I was like, 'I'll just go for it.' It's an amazing academic institution and the team plays in the best conference in the country. I was fortunate enough to get the job. I went into the job just thinking that I was going to get my feet wet with the interview process. I've been at Brandeis since 2014. We were coaches of the year in our conference two years ago. And I am going into my sixth season. I love the athletes that I get to work with. And also the university and what they stand for with social justice, and inclusion. And I am working with amazing student-athletes."
What do you remember the most from your time at Gilbert?: "I remember so many good times. I was fortunate enough to play sports for my mother, coach Mary Ellen Vaccari, who was a teacher as well. The community that is present in the hallways, and how the teachers really get to know the students. The pride of the athletics. How it provided you with a great base for the future with my work ethic and how the teachers helped me find it.
School was never easy for me. All of the teachers I had really worked hard with me for me to understand my information and to prepare me for college. It was really special having my mother in the hallways and being able to go to her. My siblings were at my school when I was there. And my brother was there as well."
Any good memories?: "The pep rallies were always awesome. We won a state championship one year and we were runners up my junior and senior year. Just some of the memories on the volleyball court. Obviously, the friends that I made, the homecoming and the school dances. I was Laurel Queen one year. That was always fun to think about, to go back and watch the parade. Gilbert offers a great environment of support. Also, the leadership I developed has helped me to get to where I am at right now."
What advice would you give current students?: "Ask for help when you need it. That's something I always tell my student athletes. When you are having trouble, or when something doesn't feel right, or there is something you don't understand. Also, always look to do things that make you step outside your comfort zone. Especially with what we are dealing with right now due to the pandemic and everything else. I think the more uncomfortable we are, the more that can help shape us up for the adversity that we face in the future.”