Vols hire former Mizzou player Tony Vitello as baseball coach – STLtoday.com
Former Missouri baseball player and assistant coach Tony Vitello hoped to land the Tigers’ head-coaching job last summer and succeed his former coach and boss Tim Jamieson. Vitello, a St. Louis native who’s helped build a perennial postseason roster as Arkansas’ recruiting coordinator, interviewed for the Mizzou position with then-athletics director Mack Rhoades, but the job went to Steve Bieser, head coach at Southeast Missouri State.
Starting next year, Vitello will get his chance to coach against his alma mater. Tennessee announced the 38-year-old as its new head coach on Thursday. Vitello, who played at De Smet High and is the son of longtime Spartans baseball and soccer coach Greg Vitello, agreed to a five-year contract with a salary of $493,000.
“This is as good of an opportunity as there is in the country,” Vitello said in a statement released by UT. “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.
“It’s no coincidence that it’s been a place where so many great coaches have been leaders in their sport. I want to work like crazy to uphold that standard.”
Vitello played at Mizzou from 2000-02 and coached on the staff under Jamieson from 2003-2010 and was in charge of the team’s recruiting. He left the program for TCU where he coached for three seasons then spent the last last four years as Arkansas’ recruiting coordinator and assistant coach.
Vitello has signed eight top-15 recruiting classes as an assistant coach and last fall was named the nation’s No. 2 recruiter by D1Baseball.com.
Arkansas was eliminated from NCAA regional play by Missouri State last weekend.
Vitello replaces Dave Serrano, who resigned after a 29-27 season at Tennessee, where he was six games under .500 in six seasons in Knoxville.
“We are thrilled to bring Coach Vitello’s passion for baseball, relationship building and student-athlete development into the Tennessee athletics family,” Currie said. “Proven experience evaluating and recruiting at the highest level and in the grind of the SEC was an absolute prerequisite, and Coach Vitello checks all the boxes. He has a track record of helping to build healthy and competitive programs—from those earliest relationships formed during the recruiting process through the development of young men into major league ballplayers. Coach Vitello has been to a dozen NCAA Tournaments, and he’s been part of a staff that led a team to Omaha. He knows firsthand what it takes to win in the Southeastern Conference, and he has triumphed in recruiting battles for elite prospects in our SEC footprint and other talent-rich areas across the country.”