KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee announced the hiring of Cal State Fullerton head coach Dave Serrano as the 24th head coach of the Volunteer baseball program on Wednesday. He will be introduced at a press conference at 2 p.m. on Thursday in the MVP Club Room at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“Dave is a proven winner and is a perfect fit as the head baseball coach at the University of Tennessee,” said interim vice chancellor for athletics Joan Cronan. “He has taken two programs to the College World Series as a head coach, and we are confident that he is the right coach to lead our program to national prominence.”
A veteran of seven College World Series and one of just 11 coaches to lead two different programs to Omaha, Serrano arrives at Rocky Top with a career record of 289-139-1 (.675) in seven 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, 46, returns 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.
“After an overwhelming 24 hours of events, I have made the decision to leave a great program at Cal State Fullerton to take on the challenge of returning the University of Tennessee to a spot among the nation’s elite,” Serrano said. “While this decision was not an easy one, it makes it a little easier to say yes when you have an entire family completely in support for you. We hope to be proud and active members of the Knoxville community and will work hard to give Volunteer fans a baseball team that they can cheer on for years to come.”
Serrano recently finished his fourth season as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton, where he earned 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 17 seasons at the Division I level, Serrano has posted an impeccable track record that includes continuous top 25 recruiting classes and 16 postseason bids. He has also tutored 161 draft picks, including seven first-round selections, dating back to the start of his coaching career at Cerritos College in 1988, a total of 23 of which have reached the Major League level.
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 Augie Garrido’s 1986 Cal State Fullerton squad, posting a 3-4 record with one save in 15 appearances.
In 2010, Serrano represented his country for the first time in his career, serving as 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 starred for USA Baseball National Teams, including Helton, Dickey and Augie Ojeda from Tennessee.
Serrano holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College and University (2003) and was born on June 28, 1964, in Torrence, Calif. He and his wife, Tracy, have three sons, Kyle, Zachary and Parker.