Dave Serrano's first two seasons at Tennessee were met with a renewed sense of excitement and optimism and now, as he begins his third year as the UT head coach, the Vols look to build on the foundation that has been set and continue their trek to return to a spot among the nation's elite.
The Orange and White's first campaign under Serrano saw it record wins over half of the 2011 College World Series field, downing No. 16 Texas, No. 10 South Carolina, No. 4 Florida and Vanderbilt. The Vols also defeated No. 2 Kentucky, handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season, and No. 19 Georgia to give them victories over five different ranked teams in 2012.
Serrano's second season at Rocky Top featured one of the youngest teams in the nation with a NCAA-leading 18 true freshmen on the roster. The Vols posted a series victory over No. 13 Kentucky and wins over No. 14 Arkansas and perennial power No. 20 Arizona State.
Fans in Knoxville made Serrano's first two seasons an immediate success in the stands as the Big Orange fan base came out in droves to Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Over the course of the team's 33-game home schedule in 2012, 63,084 Volunteer faithful clicked the turnstiles, the second-highest total in school history. Right out of the gate in 2013 Tennessee set a school record for a home-opening weekend, as 5,508 fans were on hand for the three games against Arizona State. The Vols averaged 1,881 fans per home contest last season, marking the fourth-highest total in school history.
On the field under Serrano, Tennessee found quick success as well, needing just 30 games to reach 20 wins in 2012, its fastest path to that mark since going 20-8 to open the 2005 campaign which resulted in a trip to the College World Series.
The Vols roared out of the gates in their first season under Serrano, winning their first seven games to get off to the second-best start in school history. That 7-0 record also marked the best by any UT skipper to start his Tennessee managerial career, topping the previous record of 4-0 last attained over 100 years prior in 1911.
Former Vol, five-time MLB All-Star
Following his first season at Tennessee, Serrano was awarded the honor of serving as the head coach of the 2012 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team which he led to a 12-5 record and a bronze medal at Honkbal Week in the Netherlands.
After opening its training with 10 days in North Carolina where it played a selection of collegiate summer teams and participated in the second annual Prospect Classic with the USA Baseball 18U squad, Serrano then led the Collegiate National Team into uncharted territory as it became the first U.S. squad to travel to Cuba to take on its national team in 16 years.
Despite playing a veteran Cuban squad which featured 12 players who have competed in the World Baseball Classic and four who have done so twice, the Collegiate National Team proved its mettle by bookending the five-game series at Latin American Stadium in Havana with victories. That series would continue in the Netherlands where they split two more decisions as the U.S. went 5-2 during Honkbal Week to claim the bronze.
Serrano's energy and passion for the University of Tennessee, combined with his impeccable track record of success made him the choice to become the 24th head coach of the Volunteer baseball program following a nationwide search after the 2010 campaign. A former UT assistant, he was welcomed back to the Big Orange family on June 15, 2011.
A veteran of seven College World Series and one of just 11 coaches to lead two different programs to Omaha, Serrano enters his third season at Rocky Top with a career record of 335-200-1 (.626) in nine seasons as a Division I head coach. After leading UC Irvine to the 2007 CWS in his third year at the helm of the Anteaters, he moved on to Cal State Fullerton where he averaged 43.75 wins per season in his four campaigns with the Titans, including an appearance in Omaha in 2009.
Serrano, 49, has returned to the site of his first Division I job, as he served two seasons as an assistant coach at Tennessee from 1995-96, following seven years at Cerritos Junior College. His first taste of Omaha came as a Volunteer as he helped lead a Big Orange squad featuring all-time UT greats Todd Helton and R.A. Dickey to the College World Series for the first time in over four decades in 1995. During Serrano's first stint in Knoxville, Tennessee posted an impressive 97-36 (.729) record, including a school-record 54 wins in 1995.
Vols head coach Dave Serrano is one of only 12 coaches in NCAA history to lead two programs to the College World Series:
|Larry Cochell||Cal State LA, Fullerton, Oklahoma|
|Augie Garrido||Fullerton, Texas|
|Mike Gillespie||USC, UC Irvine|
|Andy Lopez||Pepperdine, Florida, Arizona|
|Paul Mainieri||Notre Dame, LSU|
|Pat McMahon||Mississippi State, Florida|
|Tom Petroff||Rider, Northern Colorado|
|Ron Polk||Georgia Southern, Miss. St., Georgia|
|Dave Serrano||UC Irvine, Fullerton|
|Dave Snow||Loyola Marymount, Long Beach State|
|Jack Stallings||Florida St., Georgia Southern|
|Dave Van Horn||Nebraska, Arkansas|
In his fourth and final season as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton, Serrano earned 2011 Big West Coach of the Year honors for the second season in a row after leading the Titans to their 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. He previously claimed Baseball America National Coach of the Year accolades after guiding UC Irvine to the first College World Series appearance in program history in 2007.
During his 19 seasons at the Division I level, Serrano has posted an astounding list of accomplishments that includes continuous top-20 recruiting classes, 16 postseason bids and helping to script two Div. I no-hitters (CSF's Kirk Saarloos in 2001 and UCI's Glenn Swanson in 2006). He has also tutored 163 draft picks, including seven first-round selections, dating back to the start of his coaching career at Cerritos College in 1988, a total of 25 of which have reached the Major League level.
In 2010, Serrano got to represent his country for the first time in his career, as he was named the pitching coach for Bill Kinneberg's USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He helped coach the team, that included Titan pupils Nick Ramirez and Noe Ramirez, to a V FISU Championship silver medal in Tokyo, Japan. Serrano has coached 19 players that have gone on to star for USA Baseball National Teams, including Helton, Dickey and Augie Ojeda from Tennessee.
Serrano was hired as the Titans' fourth Division I head coach in 2007, replacing his long-time coach, friend and mentor, George Horton, who resigned to rekindle Oregon's baseball program in Eugene. In four years with the Titans, he guided his teams to a 175-73 record (.706), Big West Conference championships in 2008, 2010 and 2011, regional championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and a super regional championship and College World Series appearance in 2009. That, coupled with his 114-66-1 record, two postseason appearances, a trip to Omaha and a National Coach of the Year honor (2007 by Baseball America) with Irvine, solidifies Serrano's status as one of the top collegiate head coaches in the country.
Serrano's four Titan teams produced 21 All-Americans, a Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year (Tri), two Big West Players of the Year, a Big West Freshman of the Year three conference freshman pitchers of the year, 14 All-Big West Conference first-teamers (35 all-conference honorees in all) and 31 players selected in the major league draft including a pair of first-round draft picks (Gary Brown and Christian Colon) in 2010. Those numbers increase substantially for Serrano when you add in his Irvine player's accomplishments; 17 major league draft picks, 17 All-Big West Conference honorees, a two-time All-American (Scott Gorgen) and the NCAA's all-time saves leader (Blair Erickson).
In his final season at the helm of the Fullerton program, Serrano defended his Big West Conference Coach of the Year award after steering the Titans to their second straight Big West Conference championship and ninth in the last 13 years. CSF finished with a 41-17 overall record after hosting an NCAA Regional in its 20th consecutive postseason appearance. The former Titans relief pitcher, oversaw a pitching staff that led the Big West in ERA, strikeouts and fewest walks.
A total of seven Titans were recognized with all-conference honors led by Big West Player of the Year and Louisville Slugger/Baseball America All-American Nick Ramirez. A two-way threat, Ramirez hit .291 with a team-high nine home runs and 49 RBIs, while posting 1-1 record, 16 saves and 2.13 ERA in 22 relief appearances on the mound. In addition, Michael Lorenzon was named the conference freshman of the year after a stellar rookie campaign in which he hit at a squad-best .342 clip and stole a league-leading 19 bases despite missing nearly three weeks with a wrist injury.
Serrano earned his first career Big West Conference Coach of the Year nod in 2010 after piloting the Titans to a dominant 21-3 first-place finish. The year started off a bit shaky at 7-9, but Serrano quickly righted the ship and the team went on to win the last 11 weekend series and ascend to No. 7 in the nation in the national polls heading into the postseason.
Some key injuries and health issues to stars Noe Ramirez, Tyler Pill and Gary Brown along the way didn't make things easy for the third-year skipper throughout the year, but the Titans again found themselves hosting and winning a regional and advancing to a super regional at UCLA where they just missed another trip to Omaha. During the 2010 campaign, the Titans ranked first in the Big West in nearly every major batting and pitching category, finished second in fielding percentage behind UC Irvine and had three pitchers named All-Americans.
In 2009, Serrano made his way back to Omaha for the first time as the head coach of Cal State Fullerton, breezing through the Fullerton Regional (3-0) and Super Regional (2-0). However, the results were 180 degrees from those he achieved the last time he coached there as a Titan in 2004. The team's "First to Practice, Last to Play" rally cry served them well for 61 games, but uncharacteristic pitching woes and a lack of clutch hitting sent the Titans packing early after losses to Arkansas and Virginia.
The 2009 Titans led the Big West in hitting, pitching and fielding, and at times looked as good as any Titan team in the school's 35-year history. Serrano's team ascended to the No. 1 spot in the nation according to numerous polls following a grueling 11-day road trip that saw his team bus throughout the South to play eight games in 11 days against eventual CWS participant Southern Miss, then-No. 3 Texas A&M, then-No. 19 Oklahoma State, and Rhode Island. They finished that road trip 7-1 and went on to win six of their next seven games upon returning home. Serrano's club ended up with the nation's best RPI and went into the NCAA postseason nationally seeded.
VP of Scouting, Colorado Rockies
Serrano's second return to Fullerton ended his three-year run as the head coach at UC Irvine (2005-07), a team he managed to Omaha in 2007. Serrano was a relief pitcher for Augie Garrido's Titans in the mid-1980s and was later Horton's assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for eight seasons - helping Fullerton to four College World Series appearances and the school's fourth national championship in 2004.
Following apprenticeships at Cerritos College (1988-1994), the University of Tennessee (1995-96) and Cal State Fullerton (1997-2004), Serrano got his shot as a head coach when he was hired by UC Irvine on July 12, 2005, to replace John Savage.
At the helm of an Irvine program that was defunct from 1993-2001, Serrano compiled .633 winning percentage over three seasons and guided the Anteaters to postseason appearances in 2006 and 2007 and their first College World Series in 2007.
The Anteaters led the Big West Conference in nearly every offensive category in 2007 and finished with an overall record of 47-17-1, setting the school record for victories in a season. Serrano's Irvine squad marched through the 2007 Regionals and Super Regionals and finished tied for third in the nation with a 2-2 showing in Omaha, helping to solidify the National Coach of the Year honor presented to him by Baseball America (the same publication that also picked him as the nation's top assistant coach in 2004). Prior to 2007, the Anteaters had never had a postseason victory at the Division I level.
After winning 14 of their last 15 games heading into the College World Series, Serrano's Anteaters found themselves on the grand stage in Omaha along with conference partner Cal State Fullerton, the team they would eventually eliminate. After a loss to Arizona State, the Titans and Anteaters played the first College World Series game between two Big West clubs. The two squads locked horns for 13 innings, taking a CWS record five hours and 40 minutes, with Serrano's Irvine squad coming out on top, 5-4. The Anteaters went on to defeat the Sun Devils in extra innings in their next game before being eliminated by the eventual National Champion Oregon State Beavers.
In his first trip to Omaha as a head coach, Serrano's team played in front of the third and fourth largest crowds in College World Series history, became the first team to ever win back-to-back extra-inning games in Omaha, and set a record with 12 hit batsmen, breaking the mark set by Fullerton in 2003.
In 2006, Serrano led the team to 36 wins, the highest number of wins in 26 years. The Anteater pitching staff posted the nation's 15th-best ERA, and tallied its first Division I no-hitter by Glenn Swanson, who also broke the UCI career strikeout record.
In eight seasons as Cal State Fullerton's pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, Serrano established himself as one of the top assistants in the nation. His recruiting efforts played a large part in the Titans' success, as each of his eight recruiting classes was ranked by Baseball America in its annual Top 20 and two of his classes between 2001 and 2004 ranked No. 2. Collegiate Baseball ranked his 2001 efforts the best in the nation.
Oregon baseball coach
In 2010, former UC Irvine outfielder Bryan Petersen (Marlins) became Serrano's first player to reach the majors after playing for him as a Div. I head coach. As an assistant at Cal State Fullerton, 29 pitchers and catchers were drafted and 14 of his pupils (Brandon Duckworth, Matt Wise, Mike Lamb, Erasmo Ramirez, Adam Johnson, Mike Rouse, Kirk Saarloos, Jordan DeJong, Chad Cordero, Wes Littleton, Ricky Romero, Kurt Suzuki, Jason Windsor and Vinnie Pestano) have reached the big leagues. Serrano also tutored a quartet of major leaguers in R.A Dickey, Todd Helton, Mike Lincoln and Augie Ojeda during his two-year run as an assistant at the University of Tennessee from 1995-96, as well as two others, Danny Patterson and Joel Adamson, during his seven seasons as a coach on the Cerritos College staff from 1988-1994.
Cordero, the All-American closer for the Titans from 2001-2003, was a first-round draft pick that reached the majors just two months after pitching for the Titans in the 2003 College World Series. He went on to become one of Major League Baseball's premier closers and was named a National League All-Star while leading all of the major leagues with 47 saves in 2005.
Of the 25 Titans to earn All-American honors during Serrano's term as an assistant, 15 were pitchers. Benito Flores and eventual first-round draft pick Adam Johnson in 1998 started the current string of 12 straight seasons with at least one Titan All-American pitcher, the best streak by any school in the nation. Serrano produced a Fullerton school record four All-American hurlers in both 2001 and 2003, including Saarloos, who was a finalist for virtually every National Pitcher of the Year award and recorded a no-hitter in 2001. Windsor, Serrano's last All-American pitcher as an assistant at Fullerton, was named the 2004 College World Series Most Valuable Player and was named to the College World Series' Legends Team in 2010.
Though he had already moved on to Irvine by 2005, Serrano recruited and was also part of the early development of now-big league pitcher Ricky Romero, who ended up being the Titans' 10th No. 1 draft pick, an All-American and Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2005.
Before assisting at Fullerton, Serrano spent two seasons (1995-96) serving the same role at Tennessee for former head coach Rod Delmonico. There, he helped the Volunteers reach the College World Series for the first time in 44 years in 1995. During his stay in the south, he oversaw the development of two first-round draft picks in Dickey and Helton, the latter blossoming into one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball after serving as a standout hitter and pitcher or the Vols.
Serrano's first run as a coach at Fullerton was his second as an assistant to Horton. He worked under Horton at Cerritos College for three seasons (1988-90) before Horton moved to Fullerton in 1991 as associate head coach to Garrido. Serrano succeeded Horton as the head coach that year and earned the South Coast Conference's Coach of the Year Award. He reverted back to his assistant coaching post in 1992 and remained there through the 1994 season. In his seven-year tenure, the Falcons won a state championship in 1989, and five conference championships.
Serrano graduated from Cerritos High School in 1982 and played two seasons at Cerritos College. In 1985, he went 12-1 and earned junior college All-American honors while helping the Falcons to a 39-5 record en route to the state championship. Serrano then pitched for Cal State Fullerton in 1986, posting a 3-4 record with one save in 15 appearances.
His writings were published in 2009-2010 when he authored a chapter ("Building a Pitching Staff") for the American Baseball Coaches Association's book entitled "Practice Perfect Baseball." He was one of 14 head coaches from around the country to provide their insight. Former Fresno State Head Coach Bob Bennett was the book's editor.
Serrano holds a bachelor's degree from Trinity College and University (2003) and was born on June 28, 1964, in Torrance, Calif. He and his wife, Tracy, have three sons, Kyle, Zachary and Parker.Future MLB Players Coached by Serrano
More than 160 players who have played for Serrano have been drafted, an average of nearly seven players a year, including seven first-rounders. A total of 25 of those players have gone on to careers in the Major Leagues:
|2007||Bryan Peterson, OF||4||136||Marlins|
|2006||Justin Turner, 2B||7||204||Reds|
|2006||Vinnie Pestano, RHP||20||611||Indians|
|2005||Ricky Romero||1||6||Blue Jays|
|2004||Kurt Suzuki, C||2||67||A's|
|2004||Jason Windsor, RHP||3||97||A's|
|2003||Chad Cordero, RHP||1||20||Expos|
|2003||Shane Costa, OF||2||42||Royals|
|2003||Wes Littleton, RHP||4||106||Rangers|
|2002||Jordan De Jong, RHP||18||536||Blue Jays|
|2001||Kirk Saarloos, RHP||3||86||Astros|
|2001||Mike Rouse, SS||5||151||Blue Jays|
|2000||Adam Johnson, RHP||1||2||Twins|
|1999||Reed Johnson, OF||17||523||Blue Jays|
|1998||Aaron Rowand, OF||1s||35||White Sox|
|1998||Erasmo Ramirez, LHP||11||338||Giants|
|1997||Matt Wise, RHP||6||177||Angels|
|1997||Mike Lamb, C||7||227||Rangers|
|1997||Brandon Duckworth, RHP||FA||--||Phillies|
|1996||R.A. Dickey, RHP||1||18||Rangers|
|1996||Mike Lincoln, RHP||13||367||Twins|
|1996||Augie Ojeda, SS||13||381||Orioles|
|1995||Todd Helton, 1B||1||8||Rockies|
|1990||Joel Adamson, LHP||7||185||Phillies|
|1989||Danny Patterson, RHP||47||1199||Rangers|