It’s the end of a long, successful era in the Brazil Volleyball team. Coach Bernardinho has decided to step down after 16 years as the men’s national team coach. The irascible but brilliant coach steered Brazil through four Olympic finals, winning two gold medals, and three World Championships.
After taking Brazil to the fourth straight Olympic final in the Rio 2016 games, the coach informed Brazil’s Volleyball Confederation that he wanted to dedicate more time to his family. Bernardinho, however, will remain connected to the team. He will become a technical coordinator for the men’s team.
The new head coach of Brazil Men’s Volleyball team is former player Renan Dal Zotto. The choice has puzzled many, as the new man in charge has not coached in 8 years. And aside from his relative inexperience, he’s got some big shoes to fill.
Before becoming the most successful head coach in Brazilian volleyball history, Bernardinho was a player. Just like his successor, he was part of the 1984 Olympics team that won Brazil the silver medal. In 1994, he took over the women’s national team. During his six-year tenure, Brazil won two bronze medals and three World Grand Prix.
Bernardinho’s career was marked by some controversy. His abrasive style and rants at the sideline put him at odds with several players. In 2007, he cut setter Ricardo Garcia from the 2007 Pan-American team and replaced him with his own son, Bruno.
In 2010, the coach – and the whole team – received much backlash after throwing a game against Bulgaria in the World League. By losing, Brazil secured an easier playoff path. At the time, Bernardinho admitted to having only played his backups, but denied throwing the game.
Back in 2014, he was also a whistleblower for a corruption scandal in the country’s volleyball confederation.