KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee head baseball coach Tony Vitello announced the first addition to his coaching staff Monday, naming former Oklahoma State head coach Frank Anderson as the Volunteers’ pitching coach.
Anderson comes to Knoxville after spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Houston, where he helped lead the Cougars to three NCAA Tournaments, including an NCAA Super Regional in 2014. UH has also played in four consecutive American Athletic Conference Tournament championship games, taking home the title in 2014 and 2017.
Considered one of the premier pitching coaches in the country, Anderson brings a wealth of experience as both an assistant and a head coach at the NCAA Division I level. Prior to his successful stint as pitching coach at Houston, Anderson served as head coach for Oklahoma State for nine seasons (2004-12), leading the Cowboys to six NCAA Regional appearances as well as a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2007.
“Coach Anderson has a long track record as a pitching coach at the highest levels of college baseball that is unmatched,” Vitello said. “From developing MLB draft picks, All-America and all-conference arms, to coaching pitching staffs that are among the nation’s best year in and year out, his record speaks for itself.
“From my playing days and early coaching career in the Big 12, I took note of his pitchers and how he developed them. He was a tremendous role model for me as a young pitching coach. Coach Anderson has a proven throwing and training program that allows pitchers to make improvements in both velocity and command while also keeping them healthy throughout the season and their college careers. He understands what it takes to recruit and develop Omaha-caliber pitching staffs. He’s a winner with a national championship ring and a long list of NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals on his resume.
During Anderson’s first season at Oklahoma State, he led the Pokes to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. He guided OSU to the Big 12 Tournament Championship in 2004, its first in program history.
The 2006 season started an impressive three-year run for the Cowboys, as they posted three straight seasons of 41 or more victories. Anderson’s squad earned the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA Tournament that year, and in 2007 the program reached the NCAA Super Regionals.
Another successful season followed in 2008, with the Pokes climbing as high as No. 5 in the national rankings. Oklahoma State finished the season ranked all three years from 2006-08.
Before taking over in Stillwater, Anderson was the pitching coach on Augie Garrido’s staff at Texas for four years (2000-03). During his time in Austin, Anderson helped lead the Longhorns to three consecutive College World Series appearances (2001-03), and helped them win a national championship in 2002.
Other stops for Anderson included 10 years as an assistant at Texas Tech (1990-99), three seasons at Howard College (1987-89) and three years as an assistant at his alma mater, Emporia State (1983-85). In all, Anderson’s teams have advanced to 16 NCAA Tournaments, five NCAA Super Regionals and have made three trips to the College World Series.
Anderson has overseen some of the nation’s top pitching staffs during his 34-year coaching career. Most recently, Houston has finished in the top-10 nationally in team earned run average during three of Anderson’s five seasons with the program. In all, Anderson’s teams have finished among the top-25 in the country in ERA 11 times, including six top-10 rankings. The Cougars had the country’s lowest regular-season ERA (2.04) and WHIP (1.00) in 2014 while also tying a program record with 48 victories and making the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Anderson’s pitching staffs were equally as impressive in 2015 and 2016, leading the American Athletic Conference and ranking among the top-10 in ERA during both seasons. Houston finished the 2016 season with a 2.48 ERA, which ranked No. 2 in the country.
While at Texas, Anderson’s pitching staffs were a key factor in the program’s three consecutive trips to Omaha. The Longhorns led the Big 12 in team ERA during each of his four seasons and finished among the top five in the nation three times. Anderson’s staffs at Texas recorded sparkling team ERAs of 2.82 in 2002, 3.17 in 2001 and 3.30 in 2000, and also posted the program's best team ERA since 1983 (2.72) and the second-lowest ERA nationally in the 2002 campaign.
Anderson has mentored some of the nation’s top pitchers throughout his career. Just this season, he coached sophomore left-hander Trey Cumbie to AAC Pitcher of the Year honors. Cumbie led the conference with a 2.02 ERA in the regular season while posting a 9-1 record and was just selected by the Texas Rangers in the 38th round of the MLB Draft.
Junior left-hander Seth Romero was just taken in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals with the 25th overall pick last Monday night. Under Anderson’s guidance, Romero was named a first-team Freshman All-American by Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA) in 2015. Romero was also named the AAC Rookie of the Year and was invited to play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
In 2016, the Cougars had two pitchers selected in the eighth round of the MLB Draft, with Andrew Lantrip going 242nd overall to the Cleveland Indians and Nick Hernandez going 247th overall to the Houston Astros. Lantrip led the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (16.80) during the 2016 season.
Anderson saw multiple members of his pitching staff taken in the 2015 MLB Draft, as right-handed pitchers Jake Lemoine and Patrick Weigel were drafted in the fourth and seventh rounds, respectively. Lemoine became the highest-drafted Cougar since 2009. Two more pitchers were selected on the final day of the draft, joining three position players, bringing Houston's total to eight.
In total, 15 pitchers have been selected in the MLB Draft during Anderson’s tenure at Houston. He also had 27 pitchers drafted during his time at Oklahoma State, 15 selected while he was at Texas and 21 picked during his 10 seasons with Texas Tech, giving him a grand total of 78 pitchers drafted throughout his storied coaching career.
Anderson is a native of Grant, Nebraska, and earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Emporia State in 1983 before going on to attain his master’s degree from the school in 1985. Prior to attending ESU, Anderson was a junior college All-American at Mid-Plains Junior College in North Platte, Nebraska.
He and his wife, Sandra, have two children: a son, Brett, who is a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, and a daughter, Katelyn.
“I appreciate Mr. Currie and the Tennessee athletics administration for giving us the resources to make this hire possible. I’m beyond excited to welcome Frank, Sandra, Brett and Katelyn to the Volunteer family,” Vitello said.