Tennessee baseball assistant Ross Kivett hired by Houston; Richard Jackson joins staff

Mike Wilson
Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee baseball coach Ross Kivett was hired as Houston's hitting coach.

Kivett has served as a volunteer assistant coach for the past four seasons. Kivett's departure is the first turnover on UT's baseball staff since Tony Vitello was hired in June 2017.

Vitello announced Saturday that former UT pitcher Richard Jackson would fill the position. Jackson played for the Vols from 2015-19

"The secret sauce, if any, to our program is that we have some of the best assistant coaches and support personnel in college baseball," Vitello said in a school release. "It has become a routine for those folks to receive outside offers since we have been in Knoxville.

"Due to NCAA limits on two paid assistants in baseball, the one thing we can't offer Ross right now is a full-time position with benefits. Houston could do that. We are happy to see one Vol rewarded for his efforts and success. We are equally excited to see another Vol move up to fill in the void left behind."

During the last two seasons as a student assistant coach, Jackson worked closely with pitching coach Frank Anderson.

Kivett worked with UT's infielders and served as its camp coordinator. He will be heavily involved in recruiting at Houston on coach Todd Whitting's staff.

Kivett, 29, was ejected from his final game at Tennessee, an 8-4 loss to Texas on Tuesday in the College World Series. 

Kivett slammed his fist on the UT dugout railing after Sean Hunley walked Texas' Douglas Hodo III on four pitches. Third-base umpire Mike Morris ran down the line toward the Vols dugout, pointed at Kivett and ejected him. 

Vitello and pitching coach Frank Anderson came to defend Kivett, who threw his binder onto the field following his ejection. Kivett also exchanged words with the umpire crew.

Kivett, a Cleveland native, played at Kansas State. The Detroit Tigers selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He played four seasons in Detroit's minor-league system.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.