Joan Caloiaro, Angelo Caloiaro, Vinny Caloiaro (left to right).
sports, three Division
I scholarships, one
remarkable family. If
you haven’t seen the University
of San Francisco’s Caloiaros in
action you still have a chance.
The eldest Caloiaro, junior
communications major Angelo
Caloiaro, is a starting forward
on the Dons basketball squad.
Business major Vinny Caloiaro, a sophomore, plays center midfield for
men’s soccer. And freshman Joan Caloiaro, who is interested in both
business and communications, is a setter for women’s volleyball.
“It is an extremely rare thing for three members of the same family
to compete at the same university at the same time in three different
sports,” said Ryan McCrary, USF assistant athletic director for media
relations and a 19-year veteran of Division I athletics. “The Caloiaros
are an exceptionally gifted group of student-athletes.”
Each of the siblings knows how to rise to the occasion. Each is
capable of turning a desperate situation against an opponent to the
As the talented younger sister, Joan cheerfully admits to the
influence of her older brothers. “I really look up to my brothers,” Joan
said. “I am one of their biggest fans.” The three have grown closer at
USF, seeing each other almost daily, going out to dinner together on
weekends, and attending the others’ games.
Growing up in a large, close-knit family, not to mention one full of
talented athletes, a competitive streak comes naturally to all three. So
much so, that parents Dominik and Maureen were frequently forced to
break up contests of backyard wiffle ball and driveway basketball to
keep the family peace.
“We were rarely able to finish a game,” said Angelo, with a laugh.
“As we’ve grown older we’ve mellowed a little, but we still know how to
talk trash to each other.”
“When we lose, it’s not a pretty sight,” admitted Joan, recalling
games of ball tag in the house that ended in a raucous crescendo. Were
vases shattered? Picture frames cracked? Joan was “mum,” on the matter.
In spite of their rivalry, the siblings are the first to support each
other whether it’s rebounding the basketball while Angelo practices his
jump shot, as Joan does, or strapping on goalie gloves to block and
shag Vinny’s shots on goal, as Angelo has been known to do.
It’s all part of the patented Caloiaro dynamic. “We’re pretty family
oriented,” Angelo explained. Dad, Dominik, is one of seven siblings and
mom, Maureen, is one of eight. Most of their aunts, uncles, cousins,
nieces, and nephews live in Saratoga, their hometown, or around the Bay
Area. Easter and birthday gatherings can swell to 50 people with the
guest list reading like a who’s who of athletic elites—including cousin
Kerri Walsh, Olympian turned professional beach volleyball player,
cousin Marcia Wallis, former Boston Breakers (WUSA) soccer forward,
cousin Brian Barnard, a former U.S.A.
national rugby team right wing, and,
mom, Maureen, who is counted
among the all-time top women’s
basketball players at
such high achievers
in the family raises the
bar, but the Caloiaros seem to
take it in stride. “It’s something to look
up to and strive toward,” Angelo said. “It’s also fun to brag about.”
On the basketball court, Angelo established himself has a top
long-range shooter his sophomore year, turning in the most accurate
single-season beyond the arc in USF men’s basketball history, hitting
slightly more than 49 percent of his attempts in 2009-10. As a junior,
Angelo, at 6 feet 8 inches and 225 pounds, grew into a physical presence
in front of the basket, leading the Dons in rebounds (248) as men’s
basketball achieved its first 10-win West Coast Conference (WCC)
campaign (11-3) since 1982, making it to the quarterfinals of the
“I would say we have made huge strides since my freshman year and I’m
happy with where the program is headed. But at the same time, I’m not
satisfied with the season because we didn’t win a championship,” Angelo
Angelo came to USF from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose,
having been recruited by Coach Rex Walters while Walters was in his
previous post as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. Angelo, who
balked at accepting the Florida offer because of the school’s distance
from home, was still weighing a decision when Walters took the head
coaching job at USF. Angelo signed immediately.
“I like USF because it is close to Saratoga, but the
city is a completely different environment from where
I grew up,” said Angelo, who enjoys hanging out
at Baker Beach with friends in his spare time and
catching Giants games.
With so many players returning next
year, Angelo has lofty expectations for the
team’s performance. After graduating
he’d like to play professionally
in Europe and then coach. “I want to stay
connected to basket-
ball. I can’t see my life
without it, to be honest,” he said.
Younger brother Vinny saw action in all 19 men’s soccer matches last
season, including 11 starts. He scored once and assisted twice during
his sophomore campaign.
He was drawn to USF soccer because of Head Coach Erik Visser’s
ball-possession approach and because of the positive reviews he heard
from Angelo. “I also wanted a good education and the academics at USF
are great,” said Vinny, who also attended Archbishop Mitty High School.
With solid freshman and sophomore campaigns behind him, Vinny stands
on the brink of finding what it takes to push his game to the next level
and become one of the team leaders his junior and senior years, Visser
The ability to meet so many students with wide-ranging backgrounds
and life experiences at USF has impressed Vinny. “The friends that I
have made, from those in the dorms to those in class or on the soccer
field, have helped me to learn more about people because USF is so
diverse compared to my high school,” he said.
A setter on the volleyball team, Joan spent the preseason preparing
for and trying out for the U.S. Women’s National Team, U.S. Women’s
National A2 Program, and U.S. Women’s Junior National Team in February.
As one of 208 players from 81 colleges, among them USF teammate Malina
Terrell, Joan gained valuable insight into top NCAA programs and what it
takes to compete against future Olympians.
Joan was a 2010 honorable mention for the All-West Coast Conference
Team and made the 2010 All-West Coast Conference Freshman Team. She was
named American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) high school
All-American in 2009 and helped her alma mater, Archbishop Mitty High
School, to back-to-back national titles in 2008 and 2009, going 39-0 in
As a setter, Joan calls the team’s plays while scheming to
outmaneuver her opponents as she sets the ball for her teammates to
spike. Ranked second on the team in kills, Joan also knows a thing or
two about how to crush a set herself.
She’s watched cousin Kerri Walsh play in numerous Olympic and
Association of Volleyball Professionals tournament games and appears to
put what she has learned to good use for the Dons. Still, she doesn’t
want her cousin to grow too full of herself. “To me, (Kerri) is just my
cousin. I know she is a superstar and is the best volleyball player in
the country, but I don’t treat her any differently because of it,” Joan
said with a smile.
Like many freshman college students, Joan is enjoying living on her
own for the first time. For fun, she likes to catch a movie or hang out
with friends. San Francisco’s foodie culture and many eclectic
restaurants have grown on her, but she refuses to let such flashy fare
eclipse her favorite dishes—sandwiches and Cheerios.
Looking ahead to next year, all three of the Caloiaros have set their
sights on winning “silverware”—indicating they won’t be satisfied with
“A year from now, I would like to be able to
say that I have had a big impact on this program,” Angelo said. “In order to say that, we need to win
Vinny not only wants a WCC title for men’s soccer and an NCAA
Tournament berth, he’s set a personal goal of being named to the
All-West Coast Conference squad.
Not to be outdone, Joan is also gunning for a WCC championship trophy and a chance at the NCAA Tournament title.