The hits just keep on coming for Saint Viator High School’s Class 3A state champion baseball team. A little more than five months after winning the title, Head Coach Mike Manno now has learned that he has been named Class 3A Coach of the Year by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches’ Association.
He will be presented with the award in January at the Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony, which takes place at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center Hotel.
“This award recognizes those coaches who have led their respective teams to an exceptional season of play,” said Brian Wujcik, vice president of the IHSBCA.
This is the second award for Manno in as many years. One year ago, he was named Coach of the Year for the Northern District of Illinois, after coaching the Lions to a fourth-place finish in Class 3A.
“I am truly honored,” Manno said. “But I’ve always said you don’t get awards like this without great kids who believe in what we’re doing, and a great staff who is as passionate about baseball as I am.”
— Viator Baseball (@ViatorBaseball) June 14, 2017
Manno has led the Lions as head baseball coach for 11 seasons, leading them to 25 wins each of the last two years. He is a 1994 Saint Viator graduate, who played soccer and baseball at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin before he returned to his alma mater to begin coaching in 1998-99 as an assistant in soccer, basketball, and baseball.
“Actually, I date my first year of coaching back to 1996, when Coach (Bill) Pirman asked me to coach the summer varsity team,” Manno says. “It was before my junior year of college, but I began to think then that I would like to make a difference in somebody’s life.”
— Viator Athletics (@ViatorAthletics) June 11, 2017
Manno points to those intangibles that helped fuel this year’s state-winning baseball team.
“There was such a sense of camaraderie on the team and of caring for each other,” Manno says. “Sure, winning was important, but we stressed from day one that we wanted our kids to be an extension of their home and their parents and of their school.
“Through that process,” he added, “of doing the right thing, it allowed us to be successful.”
— Viator Athletics (@ViatorAthletics) June 9, 2017
Beyond Pirman, Manno pointed to such role models as Joe Majkowski, who coached varsity basketball for 35 years at Saint Viator, and Mike Taylor, who continues to coach soccer after more than 35 years.
“They taught me a lot of great things,” Manno says, “and I’m striving to live up to their expectations.”