Tom Palombo is in his 15th season as Guilford College's 14th recorded head men's basketball coach. In 19 seasons as a head men's basketball coach, Palombo has a 372-181 overall record and just one campaign with a sub-.500 record.
Palombo will now get to focus solely on the basketball program he has built into a regional power. He relinquished athletic director duties after Guilford transitioned to a full-time AD model in Sept., 2017. In the previous 10 years, Guilford athletics teams combined to win 12 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) titles and make 16 NCAA Tournament appearances under Palombo's watch. The Quakers' men's golf team notched second-place finishes at the 2010 and 2017 national championships, and Palombo's men's basketball teams posted back-to-back national semifinal berths in 2009 and 2010. In addition, 27 Quakers student-athletes have combined to win 44 performance or academic All-America commendations.
A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Palombo guided the Quakers to a 43-37 mark in his first three years, before compiling a 104-19 record over the next four seasons. From 2006-10, Guilford had the most wins in NCAA Division III and the eighth-best winning percentage (.8455) among all NCAA men's basketball teams. Palombo’s record in 14 seasons at Guilford is 272-118, which ranks second only to Jack Jensen among the school’s men’s basketball coaching wins leaders.
Palombo's Quakers posted a 24-6 record in 2016-17 and made their fifth NCAA Division III Tournament appearance by winning the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament for the third time in school history. Also the ODAC's regular-season champion, Guilford reached the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament and Palombo was named the ODAC's Bob Johnson Men's Basketball Coach of the Year.
Guilford made its fourth straight NCAA Division III playoff appearance under Palombo in 2010 and reached the national semifinals for the second year in a row. The Quakers also won their second Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) crown in three years and finished with a 30-3 overall record, which earned a number-three national ranking in the final D3hoops.com national poll. The Quakers also finished third in the nation in 2009 with a 26-6 record. Guilford broke onto the national scene in 2006-07 with the first of consecutive 24-5 campaigns. For his efforts, Palombo received 2007 South Region Coach of the Year honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and D3hoops.com.
A 27-year head coaching veteran, Palombo has a league-record four Bob Johnson ODAC Men's Basketball Coach of the Year Awards to his credit. He has directed 13 Quakers to a combined 21 All-ODAC commendations, including four players of the year. Guilford's Tyler Sanborn '10 and Ben Strong '08 both won NABC Division III Player of the Year honors as seniors.
Palombo's overall basketball head-coaching record is 486-217 in 25 seasons with eight NCAA Tournament berths, including five national quarterfinal appearances. He came to Guilford from Defiance College where he compiled a 100-63 mark and coached nine all-conference students as the Yellow Jackets’ head men’s basketball coach. His six-year stint as the Ohio school’s men’s coach followed three seasons as its women’s mentor during which time the team went 78-7. He also coached the Yellow Jackets’ men’s golf team for nine years, the tennis team for three seasons and taught in the sports science department.
A 1989 Virginia Wesleyan College graduate, Palombo's hire marked his return to the ODAC where he starred on Don Forsyth's basketball teams and played baseball for the Marlins from 1986-89. He competed for Guilford College Athletics Hall of Fame member Conrad Parker's '62 basketball teams at Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, Va. After earning his bachelor's degree in communications and journalism from Virginia Wesleyan in 1989, Palombo received his master's degree in education with an emphasis in sport management from Old Dominion University in 1991. He returned to Virginia Wesleyan as its women's basketball coach, softball coach, and sports information director. Palombo averaged 15 basketball wins in three-plus seasons and won the 1992 ODAC Coach of the Year Award. The Marlins' softball squads went 103-57-1 and captured three straight ODAC titles from 1991-93.
Palombo has served on the NCAA South Region Advisory Committee and is a past chair of the ODAC Men's Basketball Coaches Committee. He coached the ODAC Senior All-Stars in 2007, which defeated the USA-South Athletic Conference’s Senior All-Stars.
Palombo also served as Guilford's athletic director from 2007-17. He and his wife, Amy, live in Greensboro with their four children: Kylee, Reagan, Davis, and Caleb.