"The Real American Dream"
PROVO, Utah – Feb 07, 2020 – Italian-born BYU Marriott alum Giuseppe Vinci came to BYU thinking he would help coach BYU volleyball and study business before returning to Italy. What actually happened was so much more than he could have imagined. For Vinci, coming to BYU led to opportunities and experiences that forever changed his life for the better.
“I came to the United States just wanting to study and then go back to Italy, but I ended up living the American dream,” says Vinci.
Vinci’s passion for volleyball began in Italy where he began playing in middle school. After suffering a career-ending injury as a teenager, Vinci decided to coach. After getting his coaching license at sixteen, Vinci began coaching throughout Italy’s nine volleyball divisions while studying law at Università di Pavia, a university south of Milan. "As a coach, I focused on the analytical side of volleyball,” says Vinci. At twenty years old, Vinci joined the Italian national coaching staff and traveled with the Italian men’s volleyball team to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
After the team took fourth place in the Olympics, Vinci began thinking of ways the Italian national team could improve, which later inspired his business Volleymetrics. “I asked, ‘What can the Italian team do better?’” says Vinci. “I was thinking of ways to be more analytical and more technical when looking at the data from the volleyball matches.”
Around the time of the Olympics, BYU offered Vinci a scholarship to be an analyst and statistician for the BYU men’s and women’s volleyball teams. Vinci had offers from several American universities to help coach, but he knew great talent had come from BYU’s volleyball programs. “BYU had a great business school and great volleyball programs, and I love the outdoors,” says Vinci. “So Utah seemed like the right choice. I actually found out about Utah from the movie Forrest Gump because parts of it were filmed in Utah.”
Less than a year after coming to BYU, Vinci was baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I was Catholic, and I played the organ at church,” says Vinci. “I spent a lot of time with my BYU religion professors whose doors were always open for me to go in and ask questions.” After being baptized, Vinci met his wife, Jackie, a 2010 BYU Marriott master of accounting graduate, at a BYU volleyball match in California.
In addition to helping coach BYU volleyball, Vinci was recruited to work for USA Volleyball. “I worked with the national team for women’s indoor and went to the London Olympics in 2012, where the team took home a silver medal. In 2016, I traveled to the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics with the USA beach volleyball teams,” says Vinci.
While taking an experience design and management class focused on building business plans, Vinci’s business idea really took off. “Professor Brian Hill let me do the class project based on my own company idea,” says Vinci. “I checked out the Rollins Center and decided to enter the Big Idea Pitch competition.”
BYU Marriott’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology helps BYU students launch their startups, and the Big Idea Pitch allows students to pitch an entrepreneurial idea to compete for funding. Vinci pitched Volleymetrics, which provides recordings of matches, game planning, and video analysis to volleyball coaches at all levels of competition. “As an international student, I am astounded by the fact that a student like me can go into the Rollins Center and get mentoring from people who have been successful in business,” says Vinci.
Vinci graduated in 2014 with a degree in experience design and management and continued to grow Volleymetrics. In December 2017, Volleymetrics was acquired by Hudl, which provides tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. He currently works on Hudl’s customer-solutions team and is a volunteer coach for the BYU men’s volleyball team.
Vinci’s American dream came full circle when he was granted US citizenship in February 2019.
“I came to the United States with an opportunity to work hard at my job, with volleyball, and in school,” says Vinci. "I joined the national volleyball team, and I got to go to the Olympic Games. I graduated, started a business, grew the business. My business got acquired. I got married, and now we have a baby—it’s the real American dream and much of it is thanks to the wonderful people and professionals of the BYU community.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kate Monroe