It didn't take Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn long to zero in on who he wanted to replace assistant Todd Butler and he's officially got his guy now.
TCU's Tony Vitello, a former Missouri player and coach, has been named as the Razorbacks' new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator to take over for Butler, the new head coach at Wichita State.
He's going from the Frogs to the Hogs.
"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 baseball head 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."
Vitello, lauded as one of the nation's best young assistant coaches, sounds excited to take the next step in his coaching career after spending the last three years with the Horned Frogs.
"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."
After playing at Missouri, Vitello was a graduate assistant for the Tigers in 2003 before being named a full-time assistant and serving as the pitching coach beginning in 2004.
He moved on to TCU in 2011 and has earned more respect for his recruiting efforts.
Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game.com, one of the nation's best college baseball reporters, praised the hire Tuesday when interviewed the radio show Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly.
"One of the things about Todd is that he was an excellent recruiter, very charismatic and that is what kind of attracted Wichita State to him," Rogers said. "Arkansas is getting a guy that is very much the same way in Tony Vitello.
"Vitello is a younger guy with lots of energy who really kind of turned the tide of recruiting down in the state of Texas for TCU," Rogers added. "Schools like Texas and Texas Tech had been out recruiting TCU and he really kind of turned things around for them."
Vitello has concentrated more on recruiting than offense, which Rogers expects Van Horn to take an expanded role in now that former hitting coach Butler has gone to the Shockers.
"I think it is a good hire for Arkansas," Rogers added. "I think when you look at Arkansas Van Horn has a hands on approach when it comes to offense and I think he will kind of let Tony go out and do his thing when it comes to recruiting."
TCU's 2012 recruiting class was ranked in the top 10 nationally with Vitello heading up those efforts.
While at Missouri, he recruited several current major league players pitchers in Ian Kinsler, Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow, Kyle Gibson and Nick Tepesch.
"I don't see them (the Razorbacks) skipping a beat in recruiting and who knows, with a change of scenery maybe they even get better on the recruiting trail," Rogers added.
Arkansas Officially Hires Vitello
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