Coaches At All Levels
Vitale, raised in New Jersey, graduated from Seton Hall University and received a master's degree from William Patterson College. After coaching Garfield High School one year, he took over at his alma mater, East Rutherford High, and won two New Jersey state championships and four sectional championships.
After serving as Rutgers University assistant for two years, Vitale took the head job at the University of Detroit. In four seasons under Vitale, the Titans went 78-30, a .722 winning percentage. They won 21 straight in 1976-77, defeated eventual national champion Marquette and played in the NCAA Tournament. After one year as Detroit athletic director, the National Basketball Association's Detroit Pistons named Vitale head coach. He lasted but one year in the NBA, however; the Pistons went 30-52 and missed the playoffs.