Rocco Mossuto Hired to Manage Southland Vikings

By: Brandon Vickrey

Chicago, Ill. – July 24, 2020 – An accomplished veteran of the collegiate baseball scene will take the reins as the newest manager of the Southland Vikings.

Team President Don Popravak has announced that Rocco Mossuto, who has coached baseball at the collegiate level since 2006 including the last six seasons as a head coach, will assume the role of Vikings’ manager, effective beginning with Saturday’s game against the MCL Minutemen.  

“We’re thrilled to welcome Coach Mossuto as the newest manager of the Southland Vikings,” Popravak said. “His significant experience as a head coach at the collegiate level will serve him well in achieving the organization’s goals of providing quality player development during the summer months while competing for an MCL championship. His success in the collegiate ranks and popularity among his colleagues and players speaks for itself. We believe Coach Mossuto will be a positive representative of our team and league while sustaining the winning tradition of the Vikings’ organization.”

Mossuto served as the head coach at Saint Xavier University from 2015-2020. During the 2016 season, he led the Cougars to their first Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship. In 2019, he was named CCAC Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a 34-17 season. Mossuto comes to the Vikings after a coaching stint in the Joliet Collegiate League this summer.

“I appreciate the opportunity to be back on the baseball field,” Mossuto said. “It’s nice to be able to help players develop in the summer and prepare for their college seasons. Of course you always want to win games, but the most important aspect of summer ball is for players to develop so they’re ready when they return to their schools. We want them to get reps, improve their craft and be productive during the summer months.”

Mossuto’s players also thrived in the classroom during his tenure at Saint Xavier, as 66 of his student-athletes earned academic all-conference recognition and two were Academic All-Americans. Prior to becoming the head coach, Mossuto served as an assistant at SXU from 2012-2014.

Before returning to his alma mater in 2012, Mossuto served as an assistant at Illinois Tech from 2008-2010, Dominican University (Ill.) from 2006-2008 and Marian Catholic High School from 2004-2006.

“I would say my coaching style is to oversimplify everything,” Mossuto said. “I let the players’ abilities take over. As a former collegiate coach, I have an understanding of what needs to be done in the summer time to get our players ready to go heading into the fall and spring. It’s a crazy time for everyone with COVID-19, so we’re all trying to figure out how to best get players reps to get them ready to return to their respective schools.”

The 2003 Saint Xavier graduate was named the CCAC Pitcher of the Year and an NAIA All-American Honorable Mention selection in 2002. He was also an All-CCAC Team honoree in 2000 and 2002.

Mossuto played professionally overseas with the Lodi Old Rags Baseball Club of the Italian Professional Baseball League in 2004. He becomes the sixth manager in Vikings history and the fifth with professional playing experience, as the team’s former managers include ex-big league pitcher John Ely, who went on to accept a coaching position in the Chicago White Sox organization after managing the Vikings.

During his high school days, he was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball at Oak Forest. Mossuto earned his bachelor’s degree in social science before going on to complete his master’s in curriculum & instruction from Saint Xavier in December 2015.

Mossuto inherits a Southland team that holds an 11-7 record and is in contention for the Midwest Collegiate League title. He figures to continue a proud history of a Vikings’ franchise that captured MCL championships in 2013, 2014 and 2017.

Mossuto has announced the addition of assistant coach Matt Van Mill to the Vikings’ staff. Van Mill spent the last six seasons as an assistant under Mossuto at Saint Xavier and previously coached at Lincoln-Way North High School and his alma mater, Bishop McNamara High School. The Saint Xavier graduate served as the infield and outfield coach at his college alma mater.

Mossuto has rounded out the Southland staff with volunteer assistant Ryan Gyrion, who played collegiately at Ohio State before going on to reach the professional ranks with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League and the Chicago Dogs of the American Association. Gyrion spent the last three seasons as an assistant at Saint Xavier under Mossuto.

Mossuto replaces Dave Letourneau, who was relieved of his duties this week after serving as the manager of the Vikings for the 2018 and 2019 seasons and the first 16 games of the 2020 campaign.

The Midwest Collegiate League is its 11th season of providing players with the opportunity to enhance their baseball development during the summer months as they strive toward professional careers. Numerous MCL players have gone on to play professionally, including St. Louis Cardinals All-Star Paul DeJong. The Vikings produced Corey Ray, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Ray played in Triple-A last year and is part of the Brewers’ 60-player pool this season.

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