It’s a new day in college baseball with the NCAA approving a third paid assistant coach position ahead of the 2024 season. Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello is staying in house to fill the position, promoting volunteer assistant coach Richard Jackson to fill the role.
Jackson has served as Tennessee’s volunteer assistant coach since the 2022 season replacing Ross Kivett— who left the Vols program for a full time assistant coach role at Houston.
“Loyalty and family are two things that everyone in our group takes very seriously, not just with words but with actions,” Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said in a statement. “Richard was a great teammate and competitor as a player and continues to be both of those things regardless of his title.”
Jackson has been a part of Tennessee’s program for his entire coaching career after playing at Tennessee from 2015-19. The Georgia native signed and played for Dave Serrano before Vitello and his staff took over in Knoxville. Jackson reinvented himself as a submarine pitcher under Vols’ pitching coach Frank Anderson and became a reliable bullpen arm on Tennessee’s 2019 team which returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005.
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After his eligibility expired, Jackson was a Tennessee graduate assistant for two years before being promoted to volunteer assistant.
In his role as a Tennessee volunteer assistant, Jackson worked closely with the Vols’ pitchers and managed the bullpen during games. The former right-handed pitcher also coordinates and runs Tennessee’s baseball camps.
Loyalty to his players and promoting from within have been two constants of Vitello’s tenure at Tennessee. Pitching coach Frank Anderson and associate head coach Josh Elander have been with Vitello his entire tenure. Tennessee’s head coach has also had former players Luke Bonfield (Arkansas), Ricky Martinez and Redmond Walsh serve in coaching roles in his program.
Tennessee baseball officially begins fall practice on Thursday. The Vols are looking to build off of last season’s College World Series team after an offseason of roster turnover.