Joseph Iacobellis, who guided the Capilano Blues to three Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships, was inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame in the Coach Category.
The Blues Men’s Soccer team captured 10 British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association (BCCAA, now PACWEST) championships under Iacobellis. Capilano University (formerly Capilano College) also earned the CCAA Supremacy Award (25 years) for Men’s Soccer in 1999.
At Capilano, Iacobellis also built a volleyball program from scratch – and went on to coach the Blues to a BCCAA title himself in Women’s Volleyball.
His first experience with the CCAA came as a coach at the 1983 Women’s Volleyball Championship. That year in Toronto, several CCAA institutions hosted men’s and women’s volleyball and basketball championships.
“I was so impressed with the organization of these championships that it motivated me to become involved with the CCAA,” said Iacobellis.
Although the Blues didn’t medal in Toronto, they had a wonderful time meeting other student-athletes from across Canada.
“This experience fostered a positive relationship and a sense of good will towards players from other provinces which made me think that a national championship was not only about sport but more importantly, it provided athletes with an opportunity to get to know each other, share their stories and build friendships.”
In the early 1980’s, there wasn’t a CCAA Soccer National Championship. But soccer was Iacobellis’ primary sport and that would soon change.
“On my return from Toronto that early spring, I decided to bid for the first national men’s soccer championship, to be held in the fall of 1983,” said Iacobellis. With support from Athletic Director Neil Chester, the bid was accepted by the CCAA.
Iacobellis developed an elite soccer program by setting high athletic and academic standards. He would go on to lead the Blues to CCAA National crowns in 1988, 1990 and 1991. Iacobellis was named the CCAA Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year in 1991.
“Joe has a ‘Midas Touch’ when it comes to the longevity and success of the school’s athletics program both at home and abroad,” said Milt Williams, Athletic Director at Capilano. “Though he has fostered success in the sports arena, he is first and foremost an educator; someone who is committed to helping young athletes reach their full potential both on and off the field.”
Iacobellis also served as the CCAA Men’s Soccer Convenor from 1993-96 and was BC’s representative to the CCAA from 1993-95. In addition, he was a soccer and volleyball convenor at the provincial level. He was named the CCAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2009.
At Capilano, Iacobellis developed numerous endowment funds and athletic scholarships for his men’s soccer players. Further to these accomplishments, he assisted in the design, building, fundraising and implementation of the Sportsplex facility at Capilano in 1990.
“Joe is a tireless individual who has dedicated well over 30 years to the development of young athletes at various levels of competition,” said Williams. “During his time at Capilano, Joe played a crucial role in not only the development, but also the advancement of athletic programs for men and women, both locally and provincially.”