WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — Former UNC Chapel Hill standout and NCAA champion Dante Calabria has joined the UNCW staff as the team’s new director of men’s basketball operations.
Calabria, 37, fills the position vacated last summer with the elevation of Brooks Lee to an assistant coaching position with the Seahawks. Calabria has played professionally in Europe for the last 16 years after enjoying a successful four-year career with the Tar Heels from 1992-96.
“We’re extremely excited that Dante is joining our staff,” said second-year UNCW coach Buzz Peterson. “In the past couple of years, he has reiterated to me his passion to get into collegiate coaching. “He’s been coaching and playing for the past several years in Italy. Those experiences, plus his experiences while playing at UNC, will be very beneficial for him in the future. Our basketball family welcomes Dante and his family.”
A native of Beaver Falls, PA, Calabria appeared in 135 games and played on the 1993 NCAA Championship team in Chapel Hill. He was also a member of two Final Four teams (1993 and 1995) and competed in three Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship games, winning the title in 1994.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to get back involved in college basketball and work with Coach Peterson and his staff,” said Calabria, who played on Italy’s national team in 2001 and 2005 and enjoyed a European pro career that covered courts in Italy, Greece, Spain and France. “After a long playing career, it’s a great chance to learn the demands of coaching from an experienced and successful staff.
“I was very, very fortunate to play for Coach (Dean) Smith at UNC. I learned so much and, hopefully, that will help me contribute to the success of this team.”
Calabria, who earned Third-Team All-ACC honors in 1995-96, scored 1,098 points, dished out 336 assists and collected 116 steals. He averaged a career-high 12.7 points as a senior and ranks fifth all-time at UNC in three-point field goal percentage at .412.
During his time on the roster, the Tar Heels went 111-28, including a 47-17 mark in ACC action and a 12-3 ledger in the NCAA Tournament.
Calabria earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1996 and is the sixth individual to hold the position, following Mike Capaccio, Jimmy Garrity, Adam Collins, David Jandrew and Lee.