The coaching carousel has been uncharacteristically busy for early fall, thanks to the domino effect created by Oregon’s successful wooing of Cal State Fullerton coach George Horton. Dave Serrano’s departure from UC Irvine to succeed Horton at Fullerton created a vacancy at Irvine that has drawn applications from a number of big names. Sources familiar with Irvine’s national coaching search say the Anteaters interviewed former Tennessee coach Rod Delmonico yesterday, and former Southern California coach Mike Gillespie was scheduled to interview today. On Monday, Cal State Los Angeles coach Pat Shine, a former assistant to UCLA’s John Savage (who formerly coached the Anteaters), is scheduled to interview.
Gillespie has an impressive resume (including a national title in 1998) and plenty of influential supporters in Southern California, but his age (67) might be a strike against him. At age 49, Delmonico brings name recognition without the concern that he’s close to hanging up his uniform for good. Though Delmonico lacks West Coast roots, he figures to benefit from the endorsement of Serrano, his former assistant at Tennessee. Shine is an intriguing darkhorse candidate if the Anteaters want to go with another bright, up-and-coming baseball mind similar to their last two coaches, Savage and Serrano.
Sources indicate the Anteaters don’t want this process to drag on too long, and a decision could be reached as early as next week. Stay tuned.
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