In 2012, Bill Palladino returns for his 33rd year as the chief assistant coach, demonstrating the tremendous loyalty he has to the program he helped head coach Anson Dorrance shape at UNC. Palladino's success in developing brilliant defensive schemes has been a key element in leading Tar Heel teams to 20 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championships, 20 ACC regular-season titles and 21 national collegiate titles since he joined the staff in 1980.
The defenses he has coached at Carolina have allowed only 399 goals in the 798 games the Tar Heels have played in their history, an average of only 0.50 goals per game. Carolina's defense was the key to the success of the 2009 team which outscored its opponents 63-12 en route to winning UNC's 21st national championship. The Tar Heels' patented flat back three defense of Kristi Eveland, Whitney Engen and Rachel Givan, along with goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, recorded 19 shutouts on the season as the Tar Heels went 23-3-1. UNC posted a pair of long shutout streaks in 2009 as Tar Heel opponents went without goals for both eight and seven game stretches. The team allowed only two goals in nine post-season contests.
Under Palladino's expert direction, Carolina defensive units have consistently been a critical cog in Tar Heel runs to national championships. In 1987, the Tar Heels set an NCAA record on the defensive end of the field unlikely to ever be matched. The team allowed only two goals all season. Goalkeeper Anne Sherow led a team effort which produced 22 shutouts in 24 games. Those 22 shutouts stand as an NCAA record that has only been equaled once and that was by another UNC team exactly one decade later. While going 27-0-1 in 1997, the Tar Heels posted 22 shutouts in the team's 28 games.
In 2003, Palladino worked his magic again on the UNC defense. That defense did not allow a single goal in six NCAA Tournament games as the Tar Heels outscored their opponents 32-0. It stands as the most efficient defensive effort ever in an NCAA Tournament.
In 2002-03, he served as the top assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team before retiring from that role in January 2004. In that capacity, Palladino served as the chief assistant to U.S. National Team head coach April Heinrichs. In the fall of 2003, Palladino split his duties between UNC and the National Team as it competed in the 2003 Women's World Cup. The U.S. women won the bronze medal in that competition.
Palladino came aboard as an assistant coach during the program's second year in existence and has been coaching along side Dorrance through the last 32 years.
In 1991, Palladino was named South Region Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He took over the helm for much of that season as interim head coach while Dorrance directed the efforts of the U.S. Women's National Team in its successful quest to win the 1991 Women's World Cup title in China. Palladino was head coach of the Tar Heels for 10 games that season and Carolina was victorious in each contest, including three games in the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina won the 10th of its 21 national titles with a 3-1 win over Wisconsin on November 24, 1991 at Fetzer Field. He became the first assistant coach to have ever won head coaching regional coach-of-the-year honors.
"For me, Bill is the reason I enjoy my job so much," says head coach Anson Dorrance. "He is the reason the players enjoy the program so much. Bill is a big part of the reason there is such great team chemistry.
"Bill is a team builder. He has helped us develop a philosophy toward player development that encourages an informal but effective rapport between players and coaches," Dorrance continues. "Bill is a terrific counterbalance against my fiery and intense nature. That balance makes our program unique and fortunately very successful."
Palladino's coaching career with the Carolina women's team began in 1980. A Chapel Hill native, Palladino joined the staff that year after three seasons as an assistant coach - also to Dorrance - with the UNC men's soccer program from 1977-79.
The 61-year-old Palladino holds an "A" coaching license from the U.S. Soccer Federation. He was head coach of the South team at the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival in Denver, Colo. He also served as head coach of the Raleigh Wings in the W League in the late 1990s. Under his stewardship, the team completed an undefeated season in 1998 and added a second W League crown in 1999.
At Carolina, his duties include on-field coaching, recruiting, directing camps, scouting and administration. He is also in charge of putting together UNC's non-conference schedule each year.
A 1973 UNC graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, Palladino played varsity men's soccer at Carolina for three seasons from 1970-72 under the aegis of legendary coach Marvin Allen.
Palladino expanded his already-vast repertoire of skills from 2001-03 when he served as a sideline reporter and color commentator for national and regional WUSA telecasts.
Palladino has two children from his first marriage. Twins Bill and Suzi live in Chapel Hill, N.C. and San Francisco, Calif., respectively.
Palladino is currently married to former Tar Heel soccer star Wendy Gebauer Palladino, who earned All-America honors while playing at UNC from 1985-88 and was a member of the U.S. Team which won the initial World Cup in 1991. Bill and Wendy are the parents of Zachary Ryan, who was born on January 14, 2005.
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