Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

National Soccer Coaching Honor to Desmet's Vitello

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

National Soccer Coaching Honor to Desmet's Vitello

Article excerpt

Greg Vitello was not planning to attend the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention last month in Santa Clara, Calif.

But DeSmet athletic director Ken Luecke insisted.

"I usually go to either the soccer or baseball convention each year," said Vitello, DeSmet's varsity soccer and baseball coach. "But one of my daughters was married last fall, so I really hadn't planned on going anywhere this year.

"But since I was voted as the state and regional coach, Ken thought it'd be a good idea if I went."

So Vitello and his wife, Kathy, headed to California and returned with a major award. Vitello was honored as the 1993 NSCAA/Umbro large school National Coach of the Year.

"It's a tremendous honor, especially when it comes from your peers," said Vitello, who guided DeSmet to the Missouri Class 4A title in November. "And it really came as a surprise, which made it even more enjoyable, I think."

Vitello learned of his honor by accident. The day before the banquet, he was watching the Stanford University baseball team practice and then went to watch the football players from the East/West Shrine Game work out.

"I bought a copy of USA Today to see if they might have the East/West rosters," Vitello said. "As I was looking through the paper, I came across a story saying that I was going to be honored.

"I couldn't believe it then and I still can't beleive it now. So many great things have happened to me over the last few months. Sometimes I wonder if I deserve it."

Vitello joins CBC coach Terry Michler and former St. Louis University High coach Ebbie Dunn as the only St. Louis-area coaches to receive this honor.

"I have a lot of respect for Terry and Ebbie and the job they've done for soccer in this area," Vitello said. "Being mentioned with guys like that is really something I'm proud of."

Vitello was also very proud of his team, which earned a No. 17 ranking in the final NSCAA poll.

The 1993 Spartans came together late in the season, finishing 22-5-1 to capture their first outright state championship. DeSmet and Vianney were co-champions in 1991.

"Going in, we had a lot of firepower; I just didn't know if we'd be able to stop anyone," Vitello said. …

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