May 19, 2024

Tennessee suspends baseball coach Tony Vitello for the Dayton Series

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee on Friday suspended baseball coach Tony Vitello for the volunteers’ weekend series with Dayton while university officials, Vitello and the NCAA deal with a violation of the program.

Officials announced the suspension just before the third-place Volunteers opened a three-game set with Dayton. Josh Elander replaces Vitello as acting head coach. The university said an update would be provided on Monday.

“Coach Vitello has acknowledged his mistake and accepted full responsibility,” Tennessee said in a statement. “We appreciate his cooperation in this process and his commitment to doing the right thing for student-athletes in Tennessee’s baseball program.”

Tennessee cited the NCAA’s statutes to prevent further details from being released. But shortstop Maui Ahuna has yet to be cleared to play for Tennessee after joining the school last June.

Ahuna was an All-Big 12 player in Kansas batting at .396 with eight homers and 48 RBIs. The Vols were No. 1 in the NCAA tournament last year only to lose to Notre Dame in the Super Regionals.

Vitello was suspended by the NCAA for four games last season for punching referee Jeffrey Macias in the chest during a confrontation in a game against Alabama. Vitello teamed up with a fraternity to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project with a chest bump for a $2 donation.

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