Victor "Vic" Trilli, who is in his ninth year as the director of athletics at Newman University, was inducted into the Sheridan College Athletics Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Trilli was nominated both for his playing prowess at Sheridan and his contribution to college athletics as a student-athlete, coach and administrator. He was inducted alongside nine other individuals and was recognized during the halftime of the men’s basketball game at Sheridan College in Wyoming.
“It was good to go back and realize that this is where it all started for me,” Trilli said. “My coach Bruce Hoffman had a huge part in that.”
The Sheridan College Fitness Center is located inside what is now called the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome, named for Trilli’s coach, who is now 80 years old.
Mark Potter, who recently completed his 19th year as the head coach of the men’s basketball program at Newman, has known Trilli for nine years and describes him as being passionate, tireless and relentless. Potter said that he was surprised at first, not necessarily because Trilli was being inducted, but because he had kept it to himself for the most part.
“He said he didn’t want to take away from what we were doing at Newman,” Potter said. “That sums up Coach Trilli — he was thinking about us before he was thinking of himself.”
In 2010, Trilli was inducted into the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame, which honors athletes, coaches and others from the Mid Monongahela Valley near Pittsburgh, Pa. Trilli is one of seven men who comprise the Hall of Fame's Class of 2010.
“It was a very humbling experience for me,” Trilli said. “I was totally surprised. I didn’t have a clue about either one [of the inductions].”
Although the gym was small, quite the crowd was gathered to attend the induction ceremony.
Kathryn, Trilli’s wife of 43 years, could not attend due to her involvement in the dental hygiene clinic at Wichita State University. However, almost all other members on her side of the family supported Trilli from the sidelines.
Trilli’s niece is Mali Wright, a junior at Newman who plays on the women’s basketball team. While Wright practiced and played with her fellow teammates in Wichita, her family in Sheridan attended the induction ceremony.
When Trilli was a sophomore in college, a few of his teammates were in a car accident and killed. Trilli said that a big part of the discussion at the induction ceremony was the mention of these individuals.
“These days, I don’t really have that time to reflect on it, so it was really good to review what happened and talk about our former teammates,” he said. Despite having only eight players, Trilli’s college team won 15 games in their season.
“I didn’t think it was fun at the time, but the man upstairs has a plan for everything. I didn’t have a clue at the time that I would go into coaching, or that I would be able to reach out and help people, but He was preparing me for what it’s all about.”
Several of Trilli’s family members took photos, videos and made “all sorts” of Facebook announcements and congratulations.
After hearing about his father’s honor, Victor Ryan, Trilli’s youngest son, joked, “How many more of these are you going to get? I’m getting sick of this.”
Even a 92-year-old fan by the name of Ernie Rottalini walked up several steps at the ceremony just to congratulate Trilli on his honor. Rottalini said that he always looked forward to going to the games Trilli played in as a college athlete. He was also impressed with how well the team did in their seasons, despite being short a few players.
“[The ceremony] was the perfect opportunity for me to go home and catch up on everything that was going on,” Trilli said. “For them to take the time to recognize me for whatever I did, it’s a great honor for me.”
To view the requirements for being inducted into the Sheridan College Athletics Hall of Fame, click here.