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Jim Schlossnagle: Tony Vitello ‘Did An Awesome Job’ As His Assistant At TCU

Photo By Keith Robinson

OMAHA, Neb. — Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle was looking for a new recruiting coordinator in the summer of 2010. He landed the guy he wanted in then 31-year old Missouri assistant Tony Vitello.

“He was well known as just the hardest working, laser-focused recruiting guy in the country,” Schlossnagle said on Friday before his Aggies face Vitello’s Vols in the College World Series finals.

Vitello spent three years as a Schlossnagle assistant in Fort Worth before leaving for the SEC and an assistant coach job at Arkansas under Dave Van Horn.

TCU didn’t go to the College World Series is Vitello’s three seasons as an assistant coach but did the ensuing four years after he left. While Vitello didn’t make a trip to Omaha with TCU, his fingerprints as recruiting coordinator were all over those first teams.

“He did an awesome job for us at TCU,” Schlossnagle. “Most of the players on that ’14 — we went on a run ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17 coming to Omaha, a lot of the core players on that ’14 team was recruited by Tony.

“Tony, you could see his energy, his passion. Obviously a super intense guy.”

Schlossnagle particularly enjoyed the time he spent with Tony’s dad, Greg, a former high school baseball coach who would travel with the TCU team on certain road trips during the season.

“Dad is the greatest dude ever,” Schlossnagle said. “Great high school coach.”

More From RTI: See The Pitching Matchups For The CWS Finals

While the sustained success for Tennessee baseball came out of nowhere after 14 years in the wilderness, Vitello having success has come as no surprise to his former boss.

“He was fully prepared to go run his own program, and he’s done a great job, obviously,” Schlossnagle said.

The baseball side of things speaks for himself. But the way Vitello built the Tennessee program, sparking excitement for college baseball in East Tennessee and radically expanding Lindsey Nelson Stadium stands out to Schlossnagle.

“When you go there watch, experience a three-game series there, it’s not just the baseball stuff, it’s everything else that he’s done a good job with is what I think the best coaches do. It’s the game environment,” Schlossnagle said. “t’s the promoting your program and everything that Ron Frazier and Skip Bertman got going back in the day, I think the best coaches do all of that. And Tony’s done a great job of that.”

Vitello and Schlossnagle have faced off in four games as head coaches with Vitello holding a 4-1 record. Tennessee swept Schlossnagle’s second Texas A&M team last season in Knoxville and won the lone meeting this season at the SEC Tournament. The Aggies beat Tennessee in the 2023 SEC Tournament.

But no meeting has been nearly as significant as the upcoming College World Series finals between Tennessee and Texas A&M.

First pitch for weekend series is at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night at Charles Schwab Field.

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