The Pitt men’s soccer team finished the regular season last Thursday as the No. 1 team in the nation, and it reached that point thanks to Panthers head coach Jay Vidovich. The coach inherited a losing team in 2016, but he has since molded it into a national title contender. And for his efforts in leading Pitt to a 13-2 record in 2020 and 2021, he was named the ACC Coach of the Year on Wednesday.
This season saw Vidovich complete the long and arduous process of turning around a Pitt program with no history of notable success to speak of. In addition, he was able to complete that process in the ACC, arguably the toughest conference in men’s college soccer. But despite the challenges that recruiting in Pittsburgh poses, he managed to build an elite team with global talent and lead that team to unprecedented heights this season.
As a result of Vidovich’s leadership and the depth of talent he has assembled, Pitt was able to survive the sudden departure of star forward Edward Kizza and has been buoyed by the rise of new contributors, like Valentin Noel and Bertin Jacquesson, as well as senior leaders, like Alexander Dexter and Bryce Washington. And thanks to their efforts, Pitt has earned a spot in the ACC final and will likely contend for greater honors in the NCAA tournament.
The conference honor is Vidovich’s first at Pitt and the sixth of his career, as he previously won ACC Coach of the Year honors at Wake Forest in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009. In addition, Vidovich won NSCAA National Coach of the Year honors in 2007 and 2008, and given his dominant performance this season, he should contend for that honor again as well.