Induction Year: 2011
Inducted as a recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award
Following a four-year baseball career with the Yellowjackets, Joseph Vitcenda embarked on a career that would make him a coaching legend in Wisconsin. As a result, Mr. Vitcenda is a 2011 recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award.
From 1961 to 1964, Mr. Vitcenda, a self-proclaimed average baseball player, roamed the field for the Yellowjackets, playing for legendary coaches such as Carl Vergamini and Mertz Mortorelli. In 1964, Mr. Vitcenda was drafted into the United States Army and, following a two-year stint, returned to Superior to complete his secondary education degree in 1968. That fall he got his first and only teaching position -- at Royall High School in Elroy, Wis., a position he held for 33 years before retiring in 2001. Mr. Vitcenda is still active on the coaching front guiding the Panthers, having just completed his 43rd season.
The all-time leader in wins among high school baseball coaches in Wisconsin, Mr. Vitcenda currently has a record of 507-265 in 43 seasons at the helm of the Panthers. As head coach, his teams have won 16 conference championships, played in six sectional tournaments and participated in one state tournament. The state tournament appearance came in 1998, and Royall brought home the first-place hardware in Division III. In addition to high school baseball, Mr. Vitcenda has been the longtime American Legion coach for Royall.
Mr. Vitcenda was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001.
In addition to his baseball coaching duties at Royall, Mr. Vitcenda has been a freshman football coach for 18 years, an assistant wrestling coach for 12 years and a cross country coach for three years.