Tennessee coach Dave Serrano will resign at the end of the Volunteers’ season, the university said Wednesday.
Serrano is one of 12 coaches in history to lead two programs to the College World Series and has an overall record of 446-299-1 in 13 years as a head coach. But he was never able to find that level of success at Tennessee, where he is 157-160 in six seasons. The Volunteers are 27-22 this year and 7-18 in Southeastern Conference play going into this weekend’s series against Missouri. They are currently 13th in the SEC standings and will need to win the SEC Tournament to avoid missing regionals for the 12th straight season.
In a release, Serrano said he and Tennessee athletic director John Currie had a conversation about the program. Serrano told the Volunteers his decision Wednesday.
“I have no regrets about taking on this challenge six years ago,” Serrano said. “It was a job I always coveted. My time living in this great community includes some of the best days of my life. My only disappointment is that we didn’t reach the expectations of success that I’ve strived to achieve for our fans, alumni and players.”
The original five-year contract Serrano signed when he came to Tennessee after the 2011 season was set to expire last year and it was uncertain then if he would be retained after a 12th place finish in the SEC. He ultimately signed a one-year contract extension, but with the Volunteers again near the bottom of the standings, his tenure in Knoxville will come to a close this year.
Serrano’s first Division I coaching job was as an assistant at Tennessee from 1995-1996, but most of his career was spent on the West Coast. He left Tennessee to become an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton, his alma mater. He went on to be a head coach at UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, leading both to the College World Series, before returning to Tennessee as head coach.
During Serrano’s tenure in Knoxville, Tennessee produced two first round draft picks: outfielder Christin Stewart (No. 34 overall, 2015) and third baseman Nick Senzel (No. 2 overall, 2016). But the Volunteers produced just two pitchers drafted in the top 10 rounds (Andy Cox and Zac Godley).
Serrano’s tenure also saw the Volunteers set records in the classroom, including a program record 3.12 GPA in 2015.
“I’m very proud of what we accomplished with the program internally, but I realize it ultimately comes down to wins and losses,” Serrano said. “I will always be a big Vol fan and will continue to support and cheer on this great university.”
Tennessee becomes the first SEC program searching for a coach this season after four jobs changed hands last year. Potential candidates could include Auburn assistant coach Brad Bohannon, Clemson assistant coach Bradley LeCroy, Florida Atlantic coach John McCormack, Louisiana Tech coach Lane Burroughs, Mercer coach Craig Gibson, South Alabama coach Mark Calvi and West Virginia coach Randy Mazey, a former Tennessee assistant.