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Dr. Angelo Volpe, TTU Sports Hall of Famer and former University President, passes away at 83

Dr. Angelo Volpe, TTU Sports Hall of Famer and former University President, passes away at 83

By TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Dr. Angelo Volpe, former Tennessee Tech University President and a TTU Sports Hall of Famer, passed away recently at the age of 83.

Appointed the seventh president of the University in July 1987, Volpe served the campus for 13 years before his retirement in 2000. A vast supporter of Tennessee Tech athletics, the New York native is a member of both the TTU Sports Hall of Fame (inducted in 2006) and the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame (inducted in 2001).

Upon his arrival to Cookeville in 1987, Volpe made no secret of the fact that he was an avid sports fan, most especially one of his beloved New York Yankees. His love for sports was evident by his presence on the sidelines or on the bench at just about every athletic venue. From the fall through the spring, Volpe and his wife, Jennette, were there to rejoice in the wins and lament in the losses.

Volpe carried that love for athletics into his position as president, and he did so in a first-class manner as he gave his own direction to the Tech athletic program. In meetings with the coaching staff, he spelled out his demands in three simple, straightforward objectives:

  1. to follow ALL the rules,
  2. to graduate student-athletes, and
  3. to win.

The objectives were clearly placed in that order by Volpe, with rules compliance and graduation rates always stressed ahead of winning. Yet, even with those restrictions, Tech teams found ways to win while Volpe was president. And the athletic department enjoyed growth and academic success during his tenure.

Under his guidance, the athletic department added women's soccer as an intercollegiate sport, built its women's golf team from a first-year program into a three-time conference champion, and restored the women's track & field team after a 12-year absence. Tennessee Tech student-athletes were named Academic All-America 12 times and Academic All-District, both totals the highest in the league.

Tech athletes also had the highest graduation rate in the OVC in his tenure. Tech teams captured 22 Ohio Valley Conference championships across nine different sports in his 13 years at the helm of the University.

It was fitting that Volpe wrapped up his career as the University's president by leading Tech into the new millennium, while also serving as the president of the OVC Officer's Committee in that final year. He took on a prominent leadership role within the OVC and was the driving force behind the development of the OVC's landmark sportsmanship policy in 1993. 

Arrangements to honor Volpe are currently pending with Hooper-Huddleston & Horner Funeral Home. 

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