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‘She’s Of Our Cloth’: Meet Beth Schwartz, The Woman Fueling Tennessee Baseball

Director of Sports Performance Quentin Eberhardt and Assistant Director of Sports Nutrition Beth Schwartz following the 2024 SEC Tournament Championship. Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee baseball was heading to Omaha for the first time under Tony Vitello, and was looking for a new team nutritionist and dietician after Jonathan Brainard left for a job at Wyoming. Strength and conditioning coach Quentin Eberhardt knew exactly who they needed to hire.


Eberhardt didn’t even know her last name at the time. But he’d been around Beth Schwartz enough to know that she exemplified everything that Tennessee baseball was about. Schwartz is the woman that few know, but she’s tirelessly fueling the Vols in their chase for their first-ever National Championship.

“She’s of our cloth,” Eberhardt said. “She will do whatever it takes to help these guys to be in the best position to be the best that they can so we can win.”

Finding Fulfillment In Athletics

It’s 45 minutes before the first pitch of Tennessee baseball’s regional final matchup against Southern Miss and Christian Moore wants a Nutella Uncrustable. He was eating two a day at the SEC Tournament and they’ve become his favorite pregame snack this season. Only there are no Nutella Uncrustables in the clubhouse.

“He’s coming up to me with these wide eyes, ‘Miss B, are we gonna have the Nutella Uncrustables?’ I am in my Jeep running to Publix to make sure he can have that in the dugout,” Schwartz told RTI.

That mindset is what Eberhardt first noticed about Schwartz. It’s the summer of 2019 just a year after she became a dietician at Tennessee and years before Tennessee baseball had emerged as one of the nation’s top programs under Tony Vitello.

Tennessee is hosting one of its summer camps and Schwartz is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to make sure everything is running smoothly.

“She was a worker and she is doing everything like filling up the coolers and doing all this shit and I was like this chick is locked in on her gig,” Eberhardt remembers. “I thought she was a young athletic trainer. I didn’t know she was a dietitian who was just helping out because it needed to be done.”

Schwartz may have just started working at Tennessee in 2018 but the university was hardly new to her. She grew up in Franklin as a Volunteer fan. Bill Battle recruited her father to play football in the ‘60s but a knee injury kept him from ever suiting up for the Vols. Schwartz followed in family footsteps, rowing for the Lady Vols and serving as the team captain in her senior season.

“You slice me open and I bleed orange,” Schwartz said.

After graduation, Schwartz moved away from athletics. She worked briefly in the government before going to culinary school. Schwartz was successful as a chef working her way to Blackberry Farm— a resort in the Smoky Mountains that ranks as one of the 500 best hotels in the world.

Schwartz loved cooking and enjoyed working at Blackberry Farm, but it wasn’t fulfilling her. When Pat Summitt passed away in 2016 Schwartz went soul searching, asking herself what would make her work more worthwhile

“It didn’t give me that fulfillment (of) … who I authentically am,” Schwartz said. “Sports, just like is what gets my blood boiling. That’s where my true passion lies.

“To be able to take something like culinary and nutrition and to be able to pair it with sports, it’s like this trifecta with me because I love to cook and I grew up cooking with my mom when I was younger and we came from a big family and we didn’t eat out a lot.”

Schwartz worked mostly with football as a chef and a dietician when she returned to Tennessee but now works with the baseball, volleyball, and swim and dive programs.

Blackberry Farm prepared her for the challenging schedule and hours of college athletics. And whether it’s making an Uncrustables run or going to get Chase Dollander a smoothie and energy drink at 1 a.m. during the SEC Tournament, Schwartz earned the trust of the athletes and coaches she works with. 

“(She has) Whatever qualifications, certifications you want,” Eberhardt said. “But she will also do the nitty, gritty grunt work also. And does it with a smile on her face and doesn’t act like it’s beneath her. And that’s why we love her.”

“Like Coach Summitt said, ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,’” Schwartz said.

In returning to sports and building more personal relationships, Schwartz found the fulfillment in her work that she was looking for.

“I like the grind,” Schwartz said. “So it does get hectic, but I want to help those athletes be successful and to get to see them along their journey. That excites me. I know the relationship with the student-athlete and the coaching staff that motivates me.”

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Why Schwartz Returned To Tennessee

Lane Kiffin first reached out to Schwartz in March 2022. He was targeting Schwartz for the Director of Sports Nutrition job at Ole Miss and wanted her to come to campus. Tennessee baseball was in the midst of running through the SEC with one of the best regular seasons in college baseball history.

“I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere until baseball season’s over,’” Schwartz said. “Because we were having such a tremendous year. And I love Tennessee and I love Tennessee baseball.”

But the morning after Tennessee’s season ended in heartbreak against Notre Dame in the super regionals, Schwartz was on a plane to visit Ole Miss. She accepted the job in late June and started the first week of July.

It’s nine months later and it’s the biggest weekend of the spring in Oxford. Morgan Wallen is playing Vaught Hemingway Stadium and the defending National Champion Ole Miss baseball team is hosting No. 1 LSU for a weekend series. The entire football coaching and recruiting staff is going to Swayze Field for the series and are trying to convince Schwartz to join them.

They’re unsuccessful. Schwartz escapes the football facility and makes her way to Buffalo Wild Wings. Four hundred and two miles east, Tennessee is looking to get its season back on track against rival Vanderbilt. Schwartz isn’t going to miss it.

“I watched every single baseball game,” Schwartz said. “Whether it was on my phone or I was at like a local— just place to eat a burger and watch the game.”

Two months later, Tennessee had turned its season around and was back in the super regionals. The Vols are sitting under the Pete Taylor Stadium metal bleachers at Southern Miss during a thunderstorm, Schwartz is texting Eberhardt advice about how they need to be handling the delay.

“I’m like, ‘be sure you have something to eat for the guys just in case there’s a weather delay and hydration. Like are they getting electrolytes?’ Just to make sure, I was still like excited about the program,” Schwartz said.

“We were in communication and talking a lot during those times,” Eberhardt said. “While she was gone and just like when I was gone (with the Chicago Cubs in 2022), it killed her to watch. She missed it.”

Schwartz couldn’t shake Tennessee baseball but she had even greater reasons to return to Knoxville.

Schwartz’s mom told her that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer when Ole Miss offered her its head nutrition job the year prior. She didn’t want to tell her daughter because she didn’t want it to discourage her from taking the job, so Beth left Knoxville and took the clear promotion.

Kiffin and Ole Miss were accommodating to the situation and Schwartz was able to travel to Kodak, where her parents moved after retiring, for certain procedures and appointments. But in the spring, the cancer had “progressed into some other places.”

“At that point, me being present was so important to me,” Schwartz said.

So when Tennessee’s Assistant Director of Sports Nutrition job opened up last summer Schwartz jumped at it, taking a significant pay cut to return to her alma mater.

Schwartz’s mom’s health has improved over the last year. She attended her first Tennessee baseball game since Beth’s return when the Vols clinched the SEC Regular Season Championship against South Carolina.

Throughout the trials of Schwartz’s past year, she is still a constant for Tennessee athletes and committed to going the extra mile to help them achieve their goals.

“I’ve never heard her complain one bit and she’s with us every damn day,” Eberhardt said. “But that’s who she is. … You would never have any idea that she is having a bad day or there is that adversity. That is something that we preach to the athletes too that it’s not wearing your emotions on your sleeve and she embodies that also.”

Back at Tennessee, working together for the first time since the fall of 2022, Schwartz and Eberhardt are equally important parts of the Vols’ elite player development program. Whether it’s putting good weight and muscle on young players or refining the dietary habits of players looking to lose weight, the two work in lockstep and have had constant success physically preparing the nation’s top team.

“She’s the Robin to my Batman or Batman to my Robin and we work very well together,” Eberhardt said. “I’m big in that too. In our field, nutrition, to me, is everything.”

Eberhardt says that Schwartz is “quite ahead” of the curve when it comes to how she approaches sports nutrition. That’s undoubtedly meaningful, but it’s her mindset and approach that makes her a perfect fit for Tennessee.

“She is top three in the country. I don’t care the sport. She is incredible at her job … and will also get her hands dirty and do whatever needs to be done.”

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