By Chris Villani Sports Reporter/Columnist · February 03, 2017
Zacchilli Honored for Contribution to Girls Sports
Hall of Fame volleyball coach Linda Zacchilli won one of the few awards that had previously eluded her over the years, earning a "Distinguished Service Award" this year at the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's annual Massachusetts Girls and Women in Sports Day.
"I have escorted many athletes to this event and it's always been very enjoyable," Zacchilli told the Crier. "I have often said in the back of my mind, 'that's an award I would love to get before I retire from coaching completely.'"
Zacchilli will be presented with the award Friday, February 3 during a morning ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston. The event is co-sponsored by New Agenda Northeast, an organization dedicated to advancing the roles of girls and women in sport. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at noon.
"I am very humbled to be selected for this award," Zacchilli said. "It comes at a great time because I am nearing the end of my career in coaching. I can't think of a better way to go out."
Zacchilli, who has won more than 650 games in a career that has landed her in multiple Halls of Fame, said she still plans to coach for at least "a couple more seasons." She will once again serve as the junior varsity and assistant varsity coach for the boys' volleyball team this spring, and plans to return as the girls' varsity head coach next fall.
Milford High School Athletic Director Peter Boucher nominated Zacchilli for the award and wrote a letter of support, as did former players Matt Deianna and Andrew Mainini.
"She is in halls of fame that haven't been built yet, that's how good she is," Boucher said. "I love her to death and I love watching her coach. It could be 2nd grade, varsity, the Olympic team, it doesn't make a difference to her. She is always practicing and coaching to win."
Referencing the fact that Zacchilli is a two-time cancer survivor, Boucher added, "she could be going through chemo or 100 percent healthy, she is going to coach the same way. She is ferocious, man, I absolutely love it."
Zacchilli said she has attended this event many times over the years.
"They recognize the senior Olympians and you see these older women and what they have achieved, it's amazing and inspiring," she said. "I just feel fortunate to be recognized by the MIAA and New Agenda and to be receiving this award."