Former URI volleyball coach Steve Santonastaso. Photo by Autumn Walter.

The University of Rhode Island Athletic Department announced on Monday that they have decided not to renew the contract of head volleyball coach Steve Santonastaso. 

In March of 2017, Santonastaso was promoted to the head coach after serving 12 years as an assistant to long-time coach Bob Schneck. In his three years leading the Rams, Santonastaso had an overall record of 29-51, along with a 12-30 record in Atlantic Ten Conference play. Rhody finished this season with an overall record of 8-18, including a 3-11 record in A-10 play after splitting their two matches this past weekend. 

“I would like to thank Steve [Santonastaso] for his time here at URI, as both an assistant coach and as our head coach,” URI Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn said via “I am appreciative of everything he has done for our program and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.” 

Santonastaso became just the second head coach in program history after taking over for Schneck, who was the head coach for 36 years. He was initially put on the coaching staff in 2005 after getting an athletic training master’s degree from San Jose State University. 

Originally from Cranston, Rhode Island, Santonastaso played high school volleyball on the inaugural Cranston High School East Volleyball team. A graduate of URI, he played on the men’s club team for four years. During his career, he led Rhody to a runner-up finish at the 1993 National Club Volleyball Championship. In 1990 and 1991 he won back to back New England Collegiate Volleyball League championships, earning the MVP award in 1991. 

“I would like to thank Thorr Bjorn for providing me with the opportunity to work within the athletic department at the University of Rhode Island for the past 15 years,” Santonastaso said, via “It has been a pleasure to work alongside the administrators, coaches and support staff within the department. Most importantly, I would like to thank all of the current and former student-athletes for their hard work and dedication to the program. I wish each and every one of them nothing but success moving forward.”

The search for a successor will begin immediately and the Athletics Department said they have no additional comment until a new coach is appointed.