(utsports.com) PULLMAN, Wash. – Tennessee head baseball coach Tony Vitello has been named the 2021 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Mike Martin National Coach of the Year, the organization announced on Friday.
Vitello becomes just the second head coach in program history to earn National Coach of the Year honors, joining legendary Vols’ skipper Rod Delmonico, who was named National Coach of the Year by Baseball America in 1995. Delmonico led Tennessee to three of its previous four trips to the College World Series (1995, 2001, 2005) and is the program’s career leader in wins with 699 during his time on Rocky Top.
Vitello was also named National Coach of the Year by Perfect Game on Friday, making him the first coach in program history to earn coach of the year honors from two separate organizations.
With an 11-6 win over Georgia on March 19, Vitello became the fastest head coach in program history to win 100 career games with the Vols, overtaking Delmonico’s mark of 163 games. Vitello needed just 153 contests to accomplish the feat.
Vitello has guided Tennessee to one of its best seasons in program history, leading the Big Orange to a 50-16 record and their first College World Series appearance since 2005. The Vols’ 50 wins are the most in a season since a program-record 54 victories in 1995.
Under Vitello’s guidance, UT won its first SEC Eastern division title since 1997 after posting a 20-10 record in league play and winning eight of its 10 conference series, including all five series on the road. Tennessee also made its first appearance in the SEC Tournament Championship Game since 1995.
The Vols will begin their run in Omaha on Sunday afternoon against Virginia following a perfect 5-0 record in the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals. UT hosted its first regional since 2005 and its first-ever super regional.
The NCBWA Coach of the Year Award, introduced in 2008, is voted on by the NCBWA Board of Directors, and chosen from a list that includes all Division I conference coaches of the year and the coaches of the eight NCAA College World Series teams.
In 2020, the NCBWA board of directors voted unanimously to name the annual award after Mike Martin, the winningest head coach in NCAA Division I baseball history after he retired at Florida State in 2019 with a 2,029-736-4 mark over 40 seasons in leading the FSU program from 1980-2019.