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Trilli makes way back home to Hall of Fame

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By Brian Herman
Thursday, June 10, 2010
 

No one can say Vic Trilli doesn't get around.

After graduating from Belle Vernon Area High in 1971, Trilli did a lot of hitting the road.

He played college basketball in Wyoming and Texas, coached basketball for 30 years in Texas and has been a college athletic director the last five years in Kansas.

"The only regret I have was doing everything away from home," said the 57-year-old and oldest of Art and Nancy Trilli's 11 children. "I would have loved to be hanging out in Western Pennsylvania."

It's no secret that one of the highlights of Trilli's career was being an assistant at the University of Texas when the Longhorns were beating Wisconsin and Coppin State in the 1997 NCAA tournament at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh.

"The chance to come home was really cool," he recalled. "I couldn't believe it when the Pittsburgh television stations were interviewing me during the shootouts. I was surprised they even knew who I was."

Trilli played football one year at BVA as a sophomore and also ran the mile with a best time of 4 minutes and 38 seconds but it was basketball where he made an impact.

He led the Leps in scoring as a senior with an 18 point average and did the same at Sheridan (Wy.) Junior College where he was the team's MVP.

Trilli then went to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas where he starred two years and made an impression on his coach Dr. Gerald Stockton.

"He thought I'd be a good coach because he new I loved the sport," said Trilli.

The rest is history.

After being an assistant six years at Midwestern, he spent eight years s basketball coach and athletic director at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas. Despite being the conference's youngest coach, Trilli had plenty of success at Lon Morris with successive 30-win campaigns.

"I made a lot of contacts at Lon Morris," he said.

One was coach Tom Penders at the University of Texas where he spent eight seasons as an assistant and recruiter with seven NCAA tourney appearances and two "Elite Eight" games.

From Austin Trilli went to Denton as head coach at the University of North Texas, the alma mater of Pittsburgh Steeler great Joe Greene.

Four years after facing one of the country's toughest non-conference schedules and seeing one of his student athletes die of cancer, Trilli said goodbye to coaching.

He was an athletic director three years at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas before landing his present job in 2008 as athletic director at Newman University, a Division II school in Wichita, Kansas.

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