Yankees coach Reggie Willits to leave organization to join the University of Oklahoma baseball program

Reggie Willits spent seven seasons in the Yankees organization.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

The New York Yankees announced that first base coach and outfield instructor Reggie Willits will be leaving the club at the conclusion of his contract to join the University of Oklahoma baseball program as a volunteer assistant coach.

Willits, 40, has spent seven years in the Yankees organization, including the last four (2018-21) as the Yankees’ first base coach and outfield instructor. He spent his first three years (2015-17) in the Yankees organization as the club’s minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator.

“I want to thank Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone and the Steinbrenner family for the opportunity to work for such a world-class organization,” said Willits. “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.”

“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.”

Prior to joining the organization, he served as the head coach at Binger-Oney H.S. (Okla.) from 2013-14, capturing two state championships.

Willits spent six seasons as a switch-hitting outfielder for the Angels (2006-11), batting .258 (218-for-844) with 146R, 35 doubles, 58RBI and 40SB in 414 Major League games. He was selected by the Angels in the seventh round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Oklahoma.

After transferring from Seminole State College, Willits played two seasons for the University of Oklahoma from 2002-03. He earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors with the Sooners in 2003 after leading the conference with 37 stolen bases, a figure that still ranks sixth in program history. His 54 stolen bases over his two seasons are tied for the 10th-most in program history.

The Chickasha, Okla., native will remain with the club until the end of December before joining his alma mater full-time in January as a volunteer assistant coach.