A little more than five months after Saint Viator High School’s baseball team recorded one of its best seasons ever—finishing fourth in the state in Class 3A—the hits just keep on coming.
Earlier this month, Coach Mike Manno learned he was named Coach of the Year for the northern area of the state by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association. He will accept his award in January at the state coaches’ clinic.
The award affirms Coach Manno’s leadership during the team’s historic run, advancing to the state semifinals while winning 25 games, which is the most in the school’s 55-year history. Along the way, Coach Manno reached his 200th victory as a head coach.
“This award recognizes coaches who led their teams admirably while achieving excellence during the past season,” says Brian Wujcik, vice president of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Coach Manno has led the Lions as head baseball coach for 10 seasons. He is a 1994 Saint Viator graduate, who returned to his alma mater to begin coaching in 1998-99 as an assistant coach for soccer, basketball, and baseball.
Since the 2013-14 season, Coach Manno also has been the head coach for the sophomore boys’ basketball team, and he serves as assistant athletic director.
“Mike leads a great staff and does a terrific job with our kids,” says Athletic Director Martin Jennings.
The team graduated 11 seniors, including four who play at the college level—Mike Ragauskis at the University of Oklahoma, Jack Coney at Purdue University, Kevin Napoleon at Butler University and Shaun Falbo at the University of St. Thomas—but Coach Manno expects to have a solid core returning.