After stating last week that he was not going to Cal State Fullerton, Dave Serrano has changed his mind and will leave UC Irvine to take the Titans head coaching job, according to multiple sources. An announcement could come as early as today.
Serrano, Baseball America’s 2007 Coach of the Year, originally pushed for longtime Fullerton assistant Rick Vanderhook to succeed George Horton, who left to take the Oregon job late last week. But while Vanderhook knows the Fullerton program inside and out and is a respected, accomplished coach between the lines, sources say the school’s administration had concerns about his readiness to handle some of the other responsibilities that accompany being the head coach of a high-profile baseball program like Fullerton, where he would essentially be the face of the university.
Serrano, a former Fullerton player and assistant coach, was a natural choice to step in once it became clear that Vanderhook was not getting the job. At that point, sources say, Serrano decided it was important to keep the job inside the Titan family. While Serrano has built UC Irvine into a national contender and overseen great improvements in the program’s infrastructure with the opening of the Newkirk Pavilion this spring, the Anteaters can’t match the Titans for tradition and prestige.
It is unclear whether Vanderhook will stay on at Fullerton as Serrano’s assistant, but that scenario seems likely if Vanderhook chooses. Serrano would likely bring recruiting coordinator Sergio Brown with him to Fullerton, leaving hitting coach Greg Bergeron as a candidate for the Anteaters’ head coaching job.
We’ll have more details on this situation as it develops.
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