KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano didn’t have to reach far to find the person he wanted to be his first hire, as he announced his longtime assistant Greg Bergeron will serve as the associate head coach of the Volunteers on Thursday afternoon.
“I’m sure there are people in Tennessee and the SEC who may not know much about Greg Bergeron because he has spent much of his coaching career on the West Coast, but believe me, that will change shortly,” Serrano said. “They will know exactly who he is.
“Greg has been a huge part of any success that I have had over the last seven years as a head coach at both UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, and I don’t expect that to change at Tennessee. He is one of the best offensive strategists in college baseball and has done a fabulous job of developing infielders into first-round picks and gritty, grinding players.”
Bergeron, 41, has been Serrano’s right-hand man for all seven of his seasons as head coach, including three at UC Irvine and four at Cal State Fullerton. He will be charged with installing his “pressure” offense, will lead the team’s on-field offensive efforts from the third base coaching box and will tutor the team’s infielders.
“My family and I are extremely excited to become part of the Tennessee tradition and the Knoxville community,” Bergeron said. “I was obviously honored and proud that Coach Serrano asked me to be a part of his staff at a special school like UT. I’ve been with him for every step so far, so it is neat for me to be able to continue with him on this journey.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting the guys on the team and am going to hit the ground running. We know we have a lot of work to do, but I’m looking forward to that. We hope to get Tennessee baseball back in the national spotlight sooner rather than later.”
In four seasons at Fullerton, the Titans saw their offensive output significantly increase, with their batting average jumping 60 points, up to .337 in 2010 (the second-highest mark in school history). CSF was a mainstay atop the Big West statistical rankings, ranking among the top three schools in the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, sacrifices and stolen bases in all four of his seasons at Fullerton.
This past season, Bergeron helped Cal State Fullerton finish eighth in the nation in sacrifice bunts and 20th in stolen bases. They also walked the fifth-most of any team in the country, while striking out the seventh-fewest times. In 2010, the Titans ranked 17th in the nation in batting average and finished in the Top 10 in the nation in hits (9th) and sacrifice bunts (6th). In 2009, the Titans ranked third in the country in sacrifice bunts led by infielder Joe Scott, who totaled more than any Div. I player (25) and set a Fullerton school record in doing so.
Bergeron’s “pressure” offense continues on the base paths where his three Titan squads have paced the Big West in each of the last four years with totals of 126, 125, 112 and 98.
While at Irvine, Bergeron’s offensive strategy was also extremely proficient as the Anteaters led the Big West in every major category except doubles, home runs and walks. The Anteaters also shattered the school record for stolen bases and set new highs for sacrifices and sacrifice flies. Irvine’s 140 stolen bases in 2007 ranked eighth in the nation and nearly tripled the next best Big West competitor and helped them reach the College World Series for the first time in their program’s existence.
Prior to Irvine, Bergeron spent seven seasons (1998-2004) at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., where he was eventually promoted to head coach in his final year. In his only season as the Warriors’ skipper, Bergeron led El Camino to a school record 30-7 finish and to within one game of a state championship. During his tenure, he helped more than 50 players earn scholarships at four-year colleges, 30 of whom ended up at Division I schools.
Bergeron’s coaching career began in 1996 with a one-season stint at Loyola Marymount before moving over to Cypress College where he helped guide the Chargers to the California Community College State Championship.
Bergeron has played a critical role in the development of over 40 players that have been drafted by Major League teams, including a trio of first-round selections. Christian Colon and Gary Brown were drafted No. 3 and No. 24 overall by the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, respectively in 2010, while Robert Steihl went with the 27th overall pick to the Houston Astros in 2000.
He also recruited, signed and coached former UC Irvine star Ben Orloff for two seasons. Orloff would later go on to be named the winner of the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation’s top shortstop, as well as a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award.
After prepping at Gahr High School and earning first-team all-conference honors at Cerritos College under Serrano’s guidance, Bergeron played two seasons at Cal State Dominguez Hills where he was named the Toros’ Student-Athlete of the Year and Team MVP. He was the conference batting champion his junior year. Bergeron finished his eligibility in 1994 with Loyola Marymount, where he earned All-West Coast Conference recognition. He eventually signed a free-agent contract with the Houston Astros in 1995.
Bergeron earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1993 and his master’s degree in the same subject from Azusa Pacific in 1997. He and his wife, Anne Marie, are the proud parents of twin daughters, Nicole and Natalie, and son, Brooks.