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Tony Vitello Embraces With Josh Heupel, Rick Barnes After Tennessee Wins National Championship

Photo by Adam Kreuger/ Channel 3 News Omaha

Tennessee athletics is in its golden age.

Rick Barnes has the Tennessee basketball program as healthy as it’s ever been. Josh Heupel has Tennessee football relevant for the first time in a long time. And Tony Vitello just kicked the door down, winning the athletic department’s first team national championship since women’s track and field in 2009.

While Vitello and Tennessee baseball defeated Texas A&M 6-5 on Monday night to win the program’s first ever National Championship, the men leading the two biggest sports in Knoxville were in attendance. Both Josh Heupel and Rick Barnes made the trip to Omaha for game three of the College World Series finals.

Following the game, Vitello shared an embrace with both Barnes and Heupel as they trio celebrated the milestone achievement for Tennessee athletics. Heupel even picked Barnes up with a big bear hug. Check out the video here.

Barnes and Tennessee basketball won the SEC Regular-Season Championship and advanced to the second Elite Eight in program history last season.

Heupel and Tennessee football took a step back to 9-4 last season after its resurgent 11-2 2022 season but expectations are high entering the 2025 season.

More From RTI: On Tony Vitello Through The Lens Of His Assistants And Players

And it’s not just the big sports that are thriving in Knoxville. Men’s golf had one of its best seasons in program history, softball continues to roll under Karen Weekly and women’s tennis made the Final Four.

It is truly a great time to be a Tennessee Vol as Vitello, Heupel and Barnes showed postgame.

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