Manager Aaron Boone may be back, but the Yankees' coaching staff continues to change around him.
First base coach and outfield instructor Reggie Willits is leaving the organization to join the University of Oklahoma baseball program as a volunteer assistant coach, the Yankees announced on Thursday.
Willits has spent the last seven years in the Yankees organization. Before beginning his tenure as New York's first base coach and outfield instructor in 2018, Willits served as the club's minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator for three years.
“I want to thank Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone and the Steinbrenner family for the opportunity to work for such a world-class organization,” Willits said in a statement released by the team. “I’ve cherished my time with the Yankees and I’ve grown professionally and personally because of the bonds that have I’ve formed with so many players, coaches and staff.”
With his contract set to expire at the end of the year, Willits won't return to his alma mater full-time until January. The 40-year-old attended the University of Oklahoma as a player before he was selected by the Angels in the seventh round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.
As of now, Willits is the fourth coach that won't be back next year. New York also chose not to renew the contracts of third base coach Phil Nevin, hitting coach Marcus Thames and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere.
On the other hand, the Yankees elected to re-sign Boone to a three-year deal. The skipper will be back in 2022 and beyond, surrounded by a different coaching staff.
These alterations could be a precursor to a variety of moves this winter in player personnel as well. General manager Brian Cashman revealed earlier this week that he will monitor the trade and free agent markets all offseason long, constantly looking to make improvements to a team that hasn't been to the World Series in 12 years.
- Yankees Invest in Aaron Boone as Focus Transitions to Roster Construction
- Cashman Offers Praise For Sánchez, But No Commitment
- Yankees To Address Shortstop After Cashman Admits to Torres Mistake