Written by Sean Dahlin
BUENA VISTA, Va.—On a night when he led the Southern Virginia University men's basketball team to a thrilling 96-87 overtime win over USCAA-rival The Apprentice School and the program's best start with an 11-3 record on Jan. 26, Head Men's Basketball Coach Tony Caputo was honored as the university's Pioneer Coach.
"The Pioneer Award was created in 2012 to recognize those first administrators, coaches and scholar-athletes, who led by example and paved the way for others to follow," said Athletic Director Scott Y. Doxey. "Tony has been a true example of a Pioneer Coach, having built successful programs and touched several lives throughout his years in varying coaching capacities at Southern Virginia."
Caputo came to Southern Virginia in 1998—in the university's second year of athletics—as director of continuing education, head men's soccer coach and assistant men's basketball coach.
Aside from leading men's basketball to extending its home winning streak to 25 games against Apprentice, Caputo has experienced tremendous coaching success at Southern Virginia winning national championships as head men's soccer coach (2000), assistant men's soccer coach (2001) and assistant men's basketball coach (2011).
He is Southern Virginia's all-time winningest coach for both men's soccer (52-40-1) and men's tennis (42-27).
In spring 2012, Caputo led the men's tennis team to a 15-1 record, which not only set the mark for best record in program history, but also the best single-season winning percentage (.938) of any athletic team in university history.
Caputo has coached 29 USCAA All-Americans (19 basketball and 10 soccer) and 20 Academic All-Americans (12 basketball and 8 soccer).
"Tony [Caputo] is one of the large reasons I chose to attend Southern Virginia [University]," said Ryan Henderson, who played men's basketball under then-assistant coach Caputo and earned the Pioneer Scholar-Athlete Award on the same night. "He is very deserving of the award for all of the selfless service he has provided to the school."