Class of 2006
Stacey Cotton was a key contributor during the "Golden Years" of the WPI volleyball program. Under the guidance of legendary coach Nancy Vaskas, the team made frequent appearances in the MAIAW Tournament, and also performed well at the Worcester City and NEW-8 championships.
During Stacey's sophomore season, WPI went an eye-popping 27-9, reaching the finals of the Worcester City Tournament for the second consecutive season. But she was at her best, perhaps, during the WPI Invitational. She earned All-Tournament accolades as she helped the Crimson and Gray finish second.
The following season, the Engineers continued their winning ways, as Stacey led the way. The team finished the season 22-14, with second-place finishes at the City and MAIAW tournaments. It was during her junior season that she received he first of two national academic awards; she earned third team College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA) in 1988 and was selected to the first team in 1989. In both seasons, she garnered first team regional academic honors.
Stacey's senior season brought several personal and team highlights. WPI won 16 games that year, including a win over Division I opponent Niagara, and an appearance in the MAIAW championship match. As throughout her career, she did a little bit of everything, amassing 122 kills, 222 assists, 46 digs, and 44 aces. A team captain, she was chosen for the New England Women's Volleyball Association Senior Classic Team. She's still in the Top 10 in four categories: third all-time in assists (933), fifth in kills (499) and blocks (163), and seventh in aces (153).
"Stacey had the skills, and she had the knowledge," Vaskas says. "She was confident, and a team leader-she had drive and determination. She has so many positive qualities, but the thing that put her well above the rest was her natural and exceptional athletic ability. There's been no other volleyball player before, during, or after her time who's had that total package. She might very well be the best all-around volleyball athlete ever to wear a WPI uniform."
Stacey also was a four-year member of the women's basketball team at WPI, and, as a freshman, contributed to the Engineers' run to the ECAC New England championship. She received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which she used to attend Stanford.
She was active in the Air Force ROTC during her time on Boynton Hill. Her professional career has spanned more than 15 years in the Air Force, where she has served as a T-38 and F-16 instruction and pilot. Currently, Major Stacey (Cotton) Bonasso is stationed at Vance Air Force base; she and her family live in Enid, Oklahoma.