By Nick Porter
BUENA VISTA, Va. – After coaching over 700 contests in two decades and wrapping up an 11-14 men's basketball season, Southern Virginia University men's basketball coach Tony Caputo has announced his retirement from coaching.
"It has been exciting over the years to have been a pioneer in the Southern Virginia Athletic Department and to have been able to watch and take part in the transition all the way from the National Small College Athletic Association to the NCAA Division 3 and the prestigious Capital Athletic Conference," Caputo said.
"I look back with fond memories at of all the athletes who believed in Southern Virginia and helped us get to the point where we are today. Because of them, there is so much to look forward to. I thank each of them for their contributions along the way and know we will always be connected both in the past and into the future, for that, I am most grateful."
Caputo became the head men's basketball coach in 2012, leading the team to the second-best season in program history while also serving as the head coach of the men's soccer and men's tennis teams. Three seasons later, he led the men's basketball team to their first-ever bid in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament.
In 2014, the men's basketball team became the first Southern Virginia program to play Brigham Young University, one of Caputo's proudest moments, and one of many games against a Division I opponent.
The Roy, Utah native came to Southern Virginia in 1998 as the Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid, as well as a coach for men's basketball and men's soccer. Over the next twenty years, he coached 31 different seasons and notched an all-time record of 339-376-4. During two of the years, he headed three sports simultaneously: men's basketball, men's soccer, and men's tennis.
With soccer and tennis, Caputo became the first coach to have multiple winning seasons. His men's tennis team in 2011-12 also finished with the best record, 15-1, in Southern Virginia history.
Collectively, Caputo has three national championships. In 2000, as the head men's soccer coach, his team won the NSCAA National Championship, the next season, as an assistant, the soccer team won the USCAA National Championship, and as an assistant men's basketball coach in 2011, the Knights became USCAA National Champions.
"Tony Caputo has contributed in so many ways to the growth of our athletic department and university," said Vice President & Director of Athletics Jason Lamb. "The university is a better place because of Tony, and there are many students wouldn't be here without him. He is one of the best men I have ever met."
In addition to working in the admissions department during much of his time coaching, Caputo also served as an assistant athletic director for nine years and helped the Knights transition into NCAA Division III. He 2010 earned the Ed & Chieko Okasaki Service Award, the highest service recognition given at Southern Virginia. From 2011-16, he served as the bishop of the Rockbridge Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
More important to Caputo than athletics, however, are academics and his programs have been perennial top academic teams at Southern Virginia. In fall 2017, men's basketball had the highest GPA of all men's teams, and over half of the players were named to the President's or Provost's List.
Over the years, Caputo has attended hundreds of weddings and graduations of former players and students, and he looks forward to many more in the future.