Former UD coach takes over woeful WC baseball program

News Journal

Former University of Dayton baseball coach Tony Vittorio has been named the head baseball coach at Wilmington College.

“I’m delighted to have Tony [Vittorio] as our head baseball coach and member of our department at Wilmington,” vice president for Athletic Administration and director of athletics Terry Rupert said. “Tony has a track record of success and will make both an immediate as well as a long-term positive impact on our baseball program.”

Vittorio takes over a struggling program. Dan Cleaver won 29 games in five year as head coach. Before that Tony Haley won 47 games in his final six seasons.

Prior to that, though, Haley had 22- and 23-win seasons and finished as high as third in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

But since 2008, the WC baseball program has won just 76 games overall and 27 OAC contests.

Wilmington has finished last in the OAC in each of the last seven season and no higher than 8th since 2006.

Vittorio comes to Wilmington having spent the last year as development director at Friends of the Jaclyn Foundation in Hopewell Junction, N.Y. He was responsible for raising awareness and funds for the organization which teams cancer patient children with high school and college teams across the country to enhance the quality of life for that child.

Vittorio served as head baseball coach at Dayton for 18 seasons and left the program as its winningest coach with 463 victories. The Flyers crossed the 30-win plateau eight times under Vittorio’s leadership as well as qualifying for eight Atlantic 10 tournaments. His 2009 team finished 38-19 with an Atlantic 10 regular season championship. Three years later, the Flyers won the Atlantic 10 tournament title and appeared in an NCAA Division I Regional.

“I want to thank president (Jim) Reynolds and Terry Rupert for presenting me with the opportunity to be part of the Wilmington College family and entrusting in me to lead the Wilmington College baseball program,” Vittorio said. “I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity of building a competitive baseball program within the Ohio Athletic Conference. Another academic year is right around the corner, and I am excited about working with our players and staff.”

Seven of Vittorio’s former players were drafted in the Major League Baseball (MLB) draft including two, Jerry Blevins and Craig Stammen, who play for the New York Mets and San Diego Padres respectively. The Dayton baseball program achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or high and graduated 95 percent of its student-athletes during the Vittorio tenure.

Before Dayton, Vittorio spent three seasons as head baseball coach at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and led the Mastadons to a 30-17 record in 1998. He was responsible for all aspects of the program as well as serving the athletics department as facilities manager.

Vittorio’s first head coaching experience came at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill. The program had won just two games the season before his arrival, but after Vittorio’s final season in 1994, Lincoln Trail boasted a 45-28 record.

Between head coaching stints at Lincoln Trail and IPFW, Vittorio spent two years as an assistant baseball coach at the University of Kentucky. He got his coaching start as a graduate assistant coach at Indiana University.

Though the majority of Vittorio’s coaching experience has been at the NCAA Division I level, he is no stranger to NCAA Division III having graduated from Hanover College in 1988 with a double major in business administration and physical education. He went on to earn a master’s degree in sports management from Kentucky.

Vittorio begins his tenure at Wilmington on Aug. 1.

News Journal