The Tennessee Vols athletic program looks to extend its winning record for the upcoming seasons. The first step in doing so is locking in the university’s most successful coaches for the future.
Nine Tennessee Vols head coaches have recently finalized their contract extensions.
Teams have not seen any immediate shift in odds at Tennessee sportsbooks, though this could be promising news for 2022 and beyond.
Nine Tennessee Vols coaches extend contracts
Tennessee Athletics experienced an especially impressive 2020-21 season in a range of sports. The men’s tennis team claimed its fourth SEC Tournament victory, while men’s basketball made it to the first round of March Madness.
The baseball team’s visit to the NCAA College World Series in June was the cherry on top.
Tennessee teams collected a total of 470.5 Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup points, a new record for the school in the competition’s 28-year history.
In total, 11 Tennessee teams completed the 2020-21 season with a top 25 national ranking. Only two other Division I schools throughout the nation advanced to the NCAA Tournament in as many sports as the Vols did.
These top teams included men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, rowing, softball, and baseball.
In order to maintain that forward momentum, the University of Tennessee has chosen to extend the contracts of some of its most prized head coaches.
Basketball leadership to remain the same for Vols
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Tennessee have had success over the past few seasons, and the university saw no need to shake things up.
Men’s basketball sticks with Rick Barnes
Each of the last three NCAA Tournaments have featured appearances by the Vols men’s basketball team thanks in large part to head coach Rick Barnes.
The team’s recruiting abilities have also seen substantial advancements. The 2021 signing class was rated third-best in the country, and Barnes has signed five five-star prospects in the previous three years.
Barnes’ updated contract now extends through June 2026.
Going into the 2021-22 season, the Vols are ranked 4th in the Southeastern Conference. For those looking to bet on college basketball in Tennessee, the team currently has +1300 odds of making it to the Final Four and +7000 odds of winning the 2021-22 NCAAB Championship next March. The season begins Tuesday, Nov. 9 with a home game against UT Martin.
Kellie Harper continues on with women’s basketball
After a short two years at Tennessee, head coach Kellie Harper led the Lady Vols basketball team to two consecutive third-place SEC finishes.
She is only the second women’s coach to direct four different women’s basketball programs to an NCAA Division I Tournament. Harper’s contract now runs until the end of the 2025-26 season.
The Lady Vols finished 13th in the AP Poll this past year, the team’s best ranking since the 2017-18 season.
Although the upcoming season schedule has yet to be released, the team will be entering the year ranked third in the SEC.
Baseball keeps Tony Vitello after World Series appearance
Perhaps the most successful Vols team this year, Tennessee baseball won 50 games this season for only the third time in its history. Moreover, the team sealed its first SEC Eastern Division title since 1997.
And for the first time since 2005, the Vols hosted an NCAA regional and went to the College World Series.
In celebration of these recent accomplishments, head coach Tony Vitello was rightfully crowned the 2021 NCBWA National Coach of the Year. Vitello’s new contract extends through June 2026.
Tennessee sportsbooks look to the Vols for guidance
Wagering on college sports can be a niche market. Some college sports are more popular than others, and as a result, not every program is available to bet on. Generally speaking, bettors can consistently find lines on college football and basketball.
Betting on baseball and other niche sports, however, can be hit or miss.
For example, Tennessee-based sportsbook Action 24/7 was the only operator offering lines on Vols baseball games during early post-season play. As competition progressed, the state’s major national sportsbooks, like DraftKings and BetMGM TN began joining the market with their own lines.
If Vols teams can continue captivating the attention of Tennessee fans, sportsbooks may begin to take notice and add new lines for an upcoming event that isn’t usually available.
But of course, there will soon be one sport available for wagering that every Vols fan can count on.
The Tennessee football team kicks off the season on Thursday, Sept. 2 against Bowling Green. The spread sits at 33 points, in favor of the Vols running away with the victory.