The coaching carousel was fairly busy this summer, and not just at the head coaching level. Fifteen coaches who served as assistants in 2010 landed head coaching jobs after the season (see chart), creating a merry-go-round effect in the assistant ranks.
And there were some very notable assistants to change addresses this summer. For instance, when Texas Christian recruiting guru Todd Whitting left to take the head job at Houston, the Horned Frogs hired highly respected Missouri recruiting coordinator Tony Vitello to replace him. The Tigers, in turn, brought in former area scout Kerrick Jackson as their new recruiter and also hired Tigers alumnus Matt Hobbs away from San Francisco to be their pitching coach.
The Dons replaced Hobbs by bringing back Greg Moore, who spent eight seasons at USF before leaving for Washington last year. And Washington filled its void by hiring National Junior College Athletic Association hall of famer Dave Dangler, who served as Notre Dame’s pitching coach in 2010.
The other USF made one of the summer’s most notable hires in September. After pitching coach Lazer Collazo resigned, South Florida replaced him with Chuck Hernandez, whose 31 years of coaching experience in pro ball includes stints as the major league pitching coach for the Angels, Rays and Tigers. Hernandez, who spent 2010 coaching in the Phillies system, will be the only Division I pitching coach with experience as a big league pitching coach.
“If you’re a pitching prospect in this community, a pitching prospect anywhere in America, you want to go somewhere where a guy is going to develop you, and Chuck Hernandez has been doing that his whole career,” Bulls coach Lelo Prado said.
The most surprising assistant coaching change of 2010 came late in the summer, when Cal State Fullerton reassigned recruiting coordinator Sergio Brown to another position within the athletic department: director of corporate sales and community relations. Fullerton cited philosophical differences between Brown and Titans head coach Dave Serrano for the change, but the school stressed that the change was not related to performance or any NCAA violations.
Brown, a middle infielder on CSF’s 1995 national championship team, and Serrano had experienced plenty of success together in six years at UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. Brown’s recruiting classes have ranked in the nation’s top 15 in three of the last four years.
The Titans shifted assistant Greg Bergeron into the role of recruiting coordinator and promoted Greg Wallis from volunteer to full-time assistant. They also brought in former star players P.J. Pilittere and Kirk Saarloos as a volunteer assistant and an undergraduate assistant, respectively.
Currier’s Career Takes Turn
Bill Currier found himself out of a job when Vermont folded its baseball program at the end of the 2009 season. After 22 seasons, Currier was the winningest head coach in Catamounts history, posting a 486-470 overall record and a 240-203 record in America East Conference play.
Currier spent 2010 as a volunteer assistant at Tennessee. This fall, another door opened for him. On Sept. 3, he was hired as the associate head coach at Fairfield. Currier, who got his start in coaching as an assistant under Jack Leggett at Vermont in the 1980s, will take over as Fairfield’s head coach when John Slosar retires at the end of the 2011 season.
“He had much success during his two decades at Vermont and gained even more last season at Tennessee,” Fairfield director of athletics Gene Doris said. “He will be a great asset to Coach Slosar and the Stags this season during the program’s coaching transition and in the leadership he will provide in the years ahead.”