Taylorville High School 
Sports Hall of Fame
PORTRAIT

LEO VITALI


    Leo Vitali graduated from Taylorville High School in 1948. He lettered in football in 1944, 1945 , 1946 and 1947. As a sophomore he was a running back on the Tornadoes, but was injured early in the season and missed most of the conference games. In 1946 he returned at the starting quarterback helping leads the Tornadoes to a 3 and 5 season. Injuries again hit Vitali his senior year and after starting the season as the seasoned quarterback, he again had to head to the sidelines with a knee injury. Viali was also a member of the Tornadoes baseball team in 1947 and 1948.

    Following Graduation, not unlike many area students after World War II, Leo Vitali went to work in the coal mine. However, being driven to do more with his life, he entered Millikin University in 1951, where he was a member of the Big Blue Football Team for three years. He also lettered one year in baseball.

    But it was teaching and coaching that allowed Vitali to excel. After graduating from Millikin he was hired to teach and coach at St Teresa High School in Decatur. From 1954 to 1957 he was an assistant football coach, the sophomore basketball coach and the varsity baseball coach. He lead the Bulldogs to the 1957 conference championship and also guided them to the sectional finals.

    In 1957, Vitali moved to the Mahomet-Seymour School District as head football and head basketball coach. His quality of coaching became apparent during his tenure at Mahomet-Seymour. In his eight seasons as head coach, The Bulldogs football team had six undefeated seasons, had a thirty-three game winning streak and won 6 conference championships. As head basketball coach, he guided his teams to five conference championship.

    With the great success he had at Mahomet-Seymour, Vitali became a coach in demand and in 1965 accepted a position in northern Illinois at St Charles High School. As head football coach from 1965 to 1978 he guided his team to two Upstate 8 Conference Championships in 1971 and 1975. During those years he also served as assistant basketball coach ( 1965-1966 ) and Assistant Track Coach (1965-1970).

    He became the Head Gold Coach in 1980 and immediately made a positive impact on that program. His teams were Up State 8 Conference Champs in 1983,1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987. They were Regional Champs in 1982, 1984, 1985, and 1987. They we Sectional Champs 1982, 1985, and 1987. And to top things off, were Illinois State Champions in 1984 And 1987.In 1983, Leo Vitali was elected to the Illinois High School Football Coach Hall of Fame and in 1996 received the Illinois High School Jodie Harrison Lifetime Achievement Award.