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Wildcats tennis family reacts to stunning death of UK Hall of Famer Agostinelli

Bruno Agostinelli played No. 6 seed Carsten Ball during the Fifth Third tennis match at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, July 21, 2009.
Bruno Agostinelli played No. 6 seed Carsten Ball during the Fifth Third tennis match at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, July 21, 2009. palcala@herald-leader.com

University of Kentucky tennis Hall of Famer Bruno Agostinelli died in a motorcycle accident in Toronto on Wednesday night.

Agostinelli, 28, played for the Wildcats from 2005 to 2009 and was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and earned All-America honors.

“This is a very sad day for me and our entire Wildcat family,” UK men’s tennis head coach Cedric Kauffmann said in a news release. “My thoughts and prayers are with Bruno's wife, his two-week-old little boy, his parents and brother. Bruno was not only one of the best student-athletes we’ve ever had at UK, but he was the most caring, respectful and hardworking person I have ever met. He was kind and humble and he became one of my closest friends after his playing years. I will dearly miss him. I know our UK family will unite and help his family as much as we can to carry on his legacy of greatness.”

According to Yahoo Sports Canada, Agostinelli, a native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, had retired from playing and was coaching for Tennis Canada, which trains junior tennis players for the national team.

The Yahoo Sports report said Agostinelli married wife Andrea last summer and they had a son less than two weeks ago.

Toronto police told Toronto TV station CP24 that Agostinelli died when his motorcycle collided with another vehicle Wednesday night.

“We will dearly miss Bruno Agostinelli,” Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a news release. “He was great on the court and exemplified everything it means to be a Kentucky Wildcat off of it. My heart breaks for his family and we offer our deepest condolences.”

Agostinelli was named Mr. Wildcat at UK’s 2009 CATSPY Awards. The Mr. Wildcat Award is given for all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service, and is the highest honor given by the athletic department to a student-athlete.

Agostinelli was a captain his senior year at Kentucky and rose as high as No. 2 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings that season. After posting more than 100 wins at UK, he went on to play professionally — appearing in Lexington’s Challenger-level event among many other tournaments — and for Canada’s Davis Cup team before moving into coaching.

“In a time of overhype, Bruno was all substance as a player and especially as a person,” said Dennis Emery, who was Agostinelli’s head coach during his time at UK. “There was no point in time in his four years on campus where we weren’t proud of the way that he represented the university and our program.”

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