Earlier today, Tennessee announced Tony Vitello as its next head baseball coach. Vitello spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Arkansas. After judging stats from D1Baseball.com, Tennessee is getting an absolute stud of a recruiter.
He was ranked the second best recruiter in the nation this past November after pulling in eight top-15 classes. As Nick Davis pointed out earlier today, Vitello has developed some impressive names (honorary VFLs?) and should make an immediate recruiting impact.
Knoxville has become a recruiting hotbed for baseball talent, so the marriage should be beneficial. Currently, however, that talent is leaving to go play at programs like Vanderbilt and South Carolina instead of staying home, so Tennessee fans should see an immediate upgrade in that department.
☑️ Proven winner
☑️ Dynamic recruiter
☑️ Energetic leader
— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) June 7, 2017
This hire shows us that John Currie isn’t afraid to go a little out of the box. Currie knew about the names the fans wanted: Chris Burke, Ash Lawson and more, and he chose his own path. As a result, Vitello will be known as Currie’s first “guy.” This hire shows us as fans that Currie values upside rather than previous coaching experience, which may or may not be a good thing.
I caution those who laud this hire as the savior of Tennessee baseball, as we’ve seen this story before:
I’m rooting for Vitello to turn Tennessee baseball around, and it seems like John Currie made a strong hire. However, it seems like a wait-and-see approach may be in order.