Tennessee has agreed to terms with Tony Vitello to be the Volunteers’ new head baseball coach.
“We are thrilled to bring Coach Vitello’s passion for baseball, relationship building and student-athlete development into the Tennessee athletics family,” Tennessee athletic director John Currie said in statement released by the athletic department on Wednesday. “Proven experience evaluating and recruiting at the highest level and in the grind of the SEC was an absolute prerequisite.”
Vitello comes to Tennessee following four seasons (2013-17) as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator with Arkansas. As a native of St. Louis, Vitello was a three-year letterwinner at Missouri from 2000-12, earning Academic All-Big 12 Conference honors as a senior and was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll twice.
“This is as good of an opportunity as there is in the country,” Vitello said. “I consider myself incredibly blessed to be a part of the athletic department at the University of Tennessee. It’s the ultimate combination of an elite conference, a state school with great in-state players, a phenomenal city and outstanding tradition that exists not just with baseball, but across all sports.
Following his playing days with the Tigers, Vitello served as Missouri’s assistant coach/recruiting coordinator from 2003-10 before holding the same position with TCU from 2010-13.
Throughout Vitello’s 14-year career, he’s developed quite the reputation as an ace recruiter. Vitello is responsible for assembling eight top-15 recruiting classes. In 2014, he helped Arkansas reel in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
On November 16th, D1baseball.com ranked Vitello as the No. 2 recruiting coordinator in the country and the best in the SEC.
Along with being an excellent recruiter, Vitello has a track record of excelling in player development. He’s responsible for recruiting and developing six first-round MLB draft picks. The likes of four-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, four-time All-Star Ian Kinsler, first-round draft pick Andrew Benintendi, All-Star Aaron Crow, Brandon Finnegan and Kyle Gibson have all been developed by Vitello.
“Coach Vitello checks all the boxes,” Currie said.
Tennessee and Vitello have agreed to a five-year contract worth $493,000 annually. The Vols’ will hold a press conference on Friday to introduce the new ball coach.