‘Humble Brag’: Tony Vitello Details Postgame Text From Peyton Manning

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Tony Vitello paused and unleashed a closed mouth smile.

Tennessee had just clinched a berth in the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals for the second straight season, and the fifth-year head coach was asked if he knew the Vols would be facing Notre Dame— who swept through the Statesboro Regional.

“I’m going to go ‘humble brag’ here—I’m just going to throw it out there,” Vitello said. “The only reason I know we’re playing Notre Dame was from one text message, and that was from Peyton Manning. Thank you for sending it. I’m not going to say thank you for letting us know who we’re playing; we’d like to just enjoy the moment for a minute. And thank you for allowing me to brag that Peyton sent my phone a text message.”

Vitello and Manning have become friends in recent years. Manning threw out the first pitch for Tennessee’s series opener against Arkansas last season and the duo collaborated for a comedy video when the Vols’ clinched a College World Series berth and trip to Omaha last summer.

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No one is as beloved in Volunteer country as Peyton Manning, but Vitello is climbing up that list as his baseball program keeps winning.

The Vols went 3-0 the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and are two wins away from clinching the program’s second straight College World Series appearance— something Tennessee’s program has never done.

Vitello expressed his appreciation for Tennessee fans a handful of times during the Knoxville Regional, but most emphatically when talking about the standing ovations Lindsey Nelson Stadium gave backup catcher Charlie Taylor Friday night.

“What our fans do in certain situations, and in particular being behind our guy, does things to my soul that I wish I could explain to you all that I can’t,” Vitello said.

Tennessee will play in front of its home fans one more weekend when the Vols host Notre Dame in the super regional. The NCAA hasn’t released the weekend schedule at the time of publication.

Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.