While Dave Hart deserves credit for hiring Brian Pensky, there’s no doubt that John Currie has to get credit for hiring Tony Vitello to run the baseball program, even if the Greg Schiano move became a disaster. And that showed this year.
In just his second season, Vitello’s emphasis on pitching began to pay off. The Tennessee Vols baseball program jumped out to its best start in school history with a 15-0 start and got into the top 25. They didn’t let up when SEC play began either.
Vitello’s program finished the year 40-21 overall and third in the SEC East, which is incredible for a second-year head coach given how amazing the league is in baseball. And it only means that the future on Rocky Top is likely bright.
Now, Vitello did benefit from a good bit of experience this year, believe it or not, and he’s got lots of talent to replace. But he maximized what his players could do, especially with the program’s lack of depth.
The major accomplishment that puts him at No. 4 is the fact that he got the program to its first NCAA Tournament since 2005, when they made the College World Series. So yes, he deserves to be high on this list.