Tennessee head baseball coach Tony Vitello wasn’t with his team last night as they improved to 34-3 with a win over Bellarmine. The fifth-year head coach also won’t be able to coach in the first two games of Tennessee’s weekend series at Florida as he serves the remainder of his suspension.
That didn’t stop Vitello from having some fun elsewhere on campus. The 43-year old helped the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Posted on the pedestrian walkway on campus, Vitello gave money for the chance to dunk a student in the dunk booth. The former Missouri infielder made the most of his opportunity.
— Gerard (@gerardt_) April 20, 2022
“About three weeks ago, if my timeline is accurate, I was asked by the fraternity to join in on what campus had a lot of events going on,” Vitello said Thursday. “They wanted me to be apart of the dunking booth so I agreed to it but I said remind me of it otherwise I’ll forget. … I said ‘hey, I’m watching our game. It’s chilly out tonight. I ain’t getting in that water tomorrow but I’ll throw or do whatever you want me to do.'”
Tennessee head football coach Josh Heupel even came along and joined in on the fun, dunking a student with a football instead of a baseball.
The real fun came when Vitello poked fun at umpire Jeffrey Macias and his four-game suspension. Macias ejected Vitello from Saturday’s game for arguing pitching coach Frank Anderson’s ejection, but he earned his suspension by bumping Macias in the stomach/chest following the ejected.
Tony Vitello is…..hot
— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) April 16, 2022
Vitello poked fun at his actions and ensuing ejection by doing $2 chest bumps to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“The leader of that deal came up with his idea of what he wanted to do and by no means was it disrespect,” Vitello said. “It was a different type of contact. I wouldn’t ever condone the contact that I made on the field, but it was for a good cause. It’s hard to argue with that.”
This weekend, Tennessee Baseball coach Tony Vitello was suspended 4 games after chest bumping an umpire.
Today, he's on campus, giving away $2 "chest bumps" for the Wounded Warrior Project.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) April 20, 2022
On top of his highly successful teams, Vitello has appealed to Vol Nation with his charismatic personality, red-hot passion and entertaining media availabilities.
Vitello is no stranger to using a suspension to market his team. In his first season in Knoxville, Vitello was suspended for a game and opened up a Lemonade stand for the day outside Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Tennessee is looking to continue its successful season this weekend in Gainesville. In fact, Vitello joked that the best place for him to do a dunk booth is in Gainesville.
“It would kind of be fun to do one in Florida,” Vitello joked. “Dress up in all the orange and let their fraternities and sororities have at it, but that might turn into a blood bath. So that will not be done, but one of the things that makes this league the best amateur league in the world is the fans are so intense about it.”
The Vols and Gators open their three-game series at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday night as Tennessee looks for its third straight series win over rival Florida.