Vitello officially named hitting coach

Posted: June 24, 2013 at 7:46 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2013 at 10:04 a.m.

Arkansas officially named TCU hitting coach/recruiting coordinator Tony Vitello, left, to the same position on Thursday.

— Arkansas officially announced the hiring of Texas Christian hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Vitello to fill the void left by Todd Butler on Thursday.

Vitello coached at TCU for three years. The Horned Frogs made the NCAA Tournament in two of the three seasons he was on staff, including a Super Regional appearance in 2012 with a team that had 16 players make their debuts at TCU during the season.

“I am elated to join the Arkansas baseball program,” Vitello said. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of a university that the entire state rallies around. It’s an even greater opportunity to learn from Coach Van Horn. I’ve been watching his teams with admiration dating all the way back to when I was a player in the Big 12 and he was at Nebraska. His teams are known for playing hard, which is a clear reflection of their head coach’s leadership and competitiveness.

“I consider myself humbled and blessed to be the one who gets to recruit for a place that is so unbelievably ideal for college baseball,” Vitello continued. “I look forward to the coaching responsibilities as well that will allow me and the rest of the staff to help build off of the foundation that Coach Butler laid.”

In 2011, Vitello's first season at TCU, he brought a top-10 class to Fort Worth, Texas, according to Baseball America. He also helped guide the Horned Frogs' hitters to a .306 average that season, though TCU hit at just a .245 clip in 2013.

"I’ve been very impressed with Tony over the years with the job he’s done recruiting and on the field as a coach,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “He’s well respected in the baseball community and is considered one of the top young coaches in the country. He has a proven track record of bringing in some of the top recruiting classes nationally. He’s very familiar with the region of the country where we focus our recruiting efforts. I’m excited to have him in our program.”

Before his tenure at TCU, Vitello served as an assistant coach at Missouri for eight seasons. He was also a three-year letterman for the Tigers in his collegiate playing career.

In his eight seasons coaching in Columbia, Mo., the Tigers made seven postseason appearances. He joined the staff as a volunteer assistant coach in 2003 before being promoted to a full-time assistant in 2004.

Vitello served primarily as a pitching coach at Missouri before becoming the hitting coach at TCU. He was also the recruiting coordinator for the Tigers and brought the 11th-ranked class to Columbia, Mo. in 2008.