The Mars Hill University community is mourning the loss of longtime volleyball coach Raoul “Tony” Fontanelle, who passed away Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. Fontanelle was 60 years old.
Originally from Waldwick, New Jersey, Fontanelle joined the Mars Hill coaching ranks in 2004. At the time of his death, he was the second-longest tenured head coach in the school’s athletics program. At Mars Hill, Fontanelle coached one Academic All-America First Team student-athlete, one South Atlantic Conference Scholar Athlete, two first-team All-SAC players, eight second-team All-SAC players and six SAC All-Freshman honorees.
“Tony was a great friend and a great coach. He cared deeply for his players and loved coaching. Tony was always willing to help wherever needed. He was devoted to coaching his teams and serving our university," MHU Director of Athletics Rick Baker said.
Before joining Mars Hill, Fontanelle coached at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, where he led the Bobcats to a conference championship and NCAA Championship Tournament appearance. Prior to Lees-McRae, he led the Bloomfield College, New Jersey, Deacons to back-to-back conference and regional titles, with two appearances in the NAIA Nationals. Before joining the college coaching ranks, Fontanelle was a successful coach and technical director with Cut Shot Volleyball Club in New Jersey.
Fontanelle is survived by his mother and two brothers. Arrangements have not been announced.