KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Former Arkansas volunteer assistant coach and TCU All-American catcher Josh Elander has been named to the Tennessee baseball coaching staff by head coach Tony Vitello.
Elander will serve as an assistant coach and will work primarily with the Vols’ hitters. He will also be in charge of recruiting for UT. The Texas native joins Vitello and fellow assistant coach Frank Anderson on the Tennessee coaching staff.
“Coach Anderson and I spent an immense amount of time researching candidates and talking to people behind the scenes in order to find the match that filled the most gaps for our program,” said Vitello.
“There are not many players that I have spent more hours in the batting cage with than Josh. His work ethic was a catalyst in making him a shining star as a player and in more recent years as a coach. His abilities as a high school All-American allowed for him to live out a recruiting experience of the utmost intensity. In the weeks that he has relentlessly worked on the road, it’s evident that his personal familiarity allows him to relate incredibly well to our prospects and their own personal process.”
Most recently, Elander was part of an Arkansas team that went 45-19 last season and hosted an NCAA Regional. He helped lead one of the most potent offenses in the SEC as the Razorbacks led the conference and ranked ninth nationally with 83 home runs in 2017. The Hogs also ranked among the top three in the SEC in batting average, runs scored, RBI, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, triples and total bases. Elander played a large role in working with Arkansas’ catchers and helped develop Grant Koch into a first team All-SEC selection. Koch also earned a spot on the USA Baseball Collegiate National team.
Prior to joining Arkansas’ coaching staff in 2017, Elander spent the 2016 season as a student assistant at his alma mater TCU, where he was able to complete his degree in communications while helping the Horned Frogs reach their third consecutive College World Series. During his time at TCU, Elander helped mentor sophomore catcher Evan Skoug, who was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award and was invited to join the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
Elander had a decorated playing career himself during his time at TCU from 2010-12. He hit .333 with 39 doubles, seven triples, 18 home runs and 114 RBIs over 169 games during his three seasons in Fort Worth. Elander earned Freshman All-America honors from Louisville Slugger and Ping!Baseball in 2010 after batting .356 with 69 hits, 16 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 33 RBI in 59 games while helping TCU reach the College World Series.
After taking over as the Horned Frogs starting catcher as a sophomore, Elander earned a spot on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. Under the guidance of Vitello, who was TCU’s hitting coach from 2011-13, Elander started all 62 games and posted careers highs with 70 hits, 11 home runs and 43 RBIs en route to earning all-conference honors in 2012.
“In college Josh handled the pressures of being heavily scouted by MLB teams as well as being the biggest threat for opposing teams to pitch to,” said Vitello. “While we see this knowledge as a huge resource for our players, I think it’s superseded by the fact that he is the best catching coach that I have been around. His skills for coaching baserunning and hitting only made the situation more attractive.”
Elander was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB Draft and spent parts of four years in the Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks minor league systems before his career was cut short by injuries. During his professional career, Elander hit .273 with 21 homers and 135 RBIs through 222 games.
Elander is a native of Round Rock, Texas and earned his Bachelor’s degree in communications from TCU in 2016. He will be joined in Knoxville by his wife, Brittany