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Tennessee coach Tony Vitello worthy of Nick Saban discount for Vols

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It feels like Tony Vitello just cashed in his first national championship discount ticket. Good for him. The Tennessee baseball coach certainly earned it.

Coming off of a national championship just last week, Tennessee landed the No. 1 transfer prospect in the country this week. It’s safe to say Vitello is on a roll. And there just might be no stopping him.

Look at what Vitello has going for him and what he’s facing when it comes to continuing forward as champions. Tennessee has shown that it’s just scratching the surface of what they’ve invested in baseball. The fruits of all that labor are just now ready to pluck. That’s how the Vols landed infielder Gavin Kilen from Louisville with no public, prolonged bidding war involved.

Tennessee fans shouldn’t be surprised that players would want to play for Vitello for less money than they could make elsewhere. For Kilen, there’s a chance to play for a national championship at Tennessee. And, let’s face it, playing for Vitello just looks like fun. Now, it just needs to remain that way, with players like Kilen, who is rated the No. 1 transfer prospect in the country.

There have been times in which playing for Tennessee wasn’t that fun. Apparently, there have been times in which NIL got in the way, as Vitello hinted at after the Vols defeated Evansville in the Super Regional in June.

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“Anybody that’s thinking about visiting our place that we’re recruiting and you think this is a place you can come and have your hand out and see how much money we can give you, don’t waste our time and don’t waste your time either,” Vitello said at the time.

So if Vitello isn’t overpaying for key players, what is he doing with all that NIL money that has been raised? That’s easy. He’s spreading it around so everyone is comfortable and team chemistry is always a strength. The best part for Tennessee fans? There’s no combating what Vitello has going.

If an athletic department decided it just had to be elite at baseball, it could easily throw money at a non-revenue sport and have success. Why? Because there’s no competition to pay college baseball players elite money. Kilen surely got offered some of that kind of money. Still, he’d rather be a Vitello Vol than an anonymous anybody.

Vitello is a great coach. He’s incredibly engaging. However, that’s just the beginning. If Vitello begins to get a regular discount from elite players that want to volunteer to play for him, then it may be appropriate to keep the parade route clear next summer. And the next summer. And the next summer.

After all, there was another SEC coach that used to regularly get NIL discounts for sending players to the NFL. Could Vitello be a young version of Nick Saban with a lot more charisma and more charming facial hair? That would mean multiple championships. With another recruiting haul, don’t be stunned to see a dynasty in orange.

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