Tony Vitello helped lead Tennessee’s baseball program to their best year on the diamond in over a decade. Because of that, Tennessee has now locked him up for several more years.
As first reported by former Vol baseball player and current broadcaster Chris Burke, Tennessee and Vitello have agreed to a new five-year extension. Burke added that there will be “much needed facility upgrades” included in the deal. Just moments later, the university officially announced the extension.
Excited to announce that @Vol_Baseball coach Tony Vitello has agreed to a new 5 year deal. Much needed facility upgrades are coming too. Cool to see all the positive momentum around the program. Congrats to all involved. Well done @phillipfulmer
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke02) June 19, 2019
In the new contract that runs through 2024, Vitello will now be paid $580,000 next season and will make as much as $650,000 in base salary by the end of the agreement.
Tennessee inked Vitello to a five-year contract worth just under $500,000 annually in June of 2017 when then-Athletics Director John Currie hired him as head coach. But after just his second year at the helm of UT’s baseball program, he’s done enough to warrant a raise and extension.
According to RTI’s own Ben McKee, not only will Vitello receive extra money and an extension, but his new deal also includes more money for his assistant coaches and an increase in the recruiting budget.
Was told earlier today that in addition to Tony Vitello receiving an extra two years to his original deal, he’d be receiving more money for his assistants, improvements to Lindsey Nelson and an increase in the recruiting budget.
Great day for the Tennessee baseball program.
— Ben McKee (@benmckee14) June 19, 2019
After going 29-27 overall and 12-18 in SEC play in his first season as head coach, Vitello helped Tennessee to a 40-21 overall mark and 14-16 record in conference play. Not only that, but Vitello’s second team earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament, marking the first time the Vols had made it to the NCAA Tournament since 2005.
Vitello’s second year at UT was the program’s best season since that 2005 campaign. Tennessee’s 40 wins were the most since that year, and their third place finish in the SEC East was the highest they had finished in the division since 2005 as well.
Tennessee went 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament, losing their first game to Liberty in the Chapel Hill Regional but bouncing back in elimination games against UNC-Wilmington and Liberty before taking on North Carolina in the Regional Final. The Tarheels beat the Vols and advanced to the Super Regional despite a gutsy effort from UT.
“Impressive doesn’t begin to describe the job Tony has done with our baseball program these past two seasons,” Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer said in a release. “I believe we have in Coach Vitello one of the nation’s brightest young head coaches. From managing the game, to player development, to recruiting and relating to today’s student-athletes — Tony has a firm grasp on all aspect of leading a major program. He’s surrounded himself with an outstanding staff, and we are going to support them as Tennessee baseball continues to climb.”
The Vols enjoyed success not seen in well over a decade this season, and expectations will continue to grow for Vitello after this season and his extension. With Tennessee losing six players to the MLB Draft this offseason, the Vols must replace a lot of production.
But with many pieces still remaining from their highly-touted recruiting class from last year and another solid recruiting class incoming, Vitello and his staff will have plenty to work with.