Yankees first base coach Reggie Willits to leave team for University of Oklahoma

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Yankees first base coach Reggie Willits talks to a group of infielders in 2020
Yankees first base coach Reggie Willits talks to a group of infielders in 2020

The Yankees will need to replace another coach for the upcoming season.

The team announced Thursday that first base coach and outfield instructor Reggie Willits will be leaving the club once his contract expires at the end of December. Willits, a Chickasha, Okla. native, will be moving on to join the University of Oklahoma baseball program as a volunteer assistant coach.

“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. “I’ve cherished my time with the Yankees and I’ve grown professionally and personally because of the bonds that I’ve formed with so many players, coaches and staff.”

“It’s been a challenging personal decision to make. I’m leaving a team and organization I’ve loved being a part of, but I’m returning home to be closer to my family and to work for a program I have deep ties to and great respect for.”

Willits, 40, spent seven years in the Yankees organization, including the last four seasons as the Bombers’ first base coach and instructor.

The news of Willits’ departure comes a week after the organization decided to not renew the contracts of third base coach Phil Nevin and hitting coach Marcus Thames following the team’s loss to the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card Game.

The Yankees re-signed Boone to a new three-year deal with a club option for 2025 on Oct. 19.

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