By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By Nick Schou
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
Dave Serrano accomplished great things as head coach of the remarkable 2007 UC Irvine baseball team. The Anteaters made their first College World Series appearance, and against the odds, they dug in, even in extra-, extra- (seriously, extra-) inning games to make their mark on a national scale. Even amid rumors of defection to division rival Cal State Fullerton, the embattled father of three pledged as recently as Aug. 31, "I have no interest in leaving UC Irvine for Cal State Fullerton." Sweet. Done and do—
What's that? Dave Serrano just accepted the head coaching position at Cal State Fullerton? Whaaaa?!
Well, we were going to write about how Coach Serrano built the foundation for the continuing greatness of Irvine baseball, and he has, but now it looks like he won't be raising any roofs there. He's headed back up Interstate 405 (or Highway 73, you know, depending on the traffic).
Serrano signed a four-year contract with the Titans. It's hardly surprising he took the job: He played there, he coached there, and now he'll be taking over one of the most renowned college-baseball programs in the country.
He makes the move while he's at the top of his profession (2007 Baseball America Coach of the Year). Indeed, he'd already had a storied career in Orange County, going back to his days as pitching coach for Fullerton. And he leaves behind a team in great shape: The 'Eaters are now ranked No. 2 in the "Top Ten Rising Programs," according to Rivals.com, a popular college-sports website, which should set up a nice little rivalry for next year and beyond.
Serrano and his wife, Tracy, have three children, all boys less than 12 years old, perfect for shagging balls in the outfield. Yes, he's a nationally recognized coach of a nationally ranked team, but when it comes down to it, he's probably a lot like your dad. He loves his kids, the beach and a good burger, and we're guessing he just wants some peace and quiet.
Whew!Okay, now let's get this to print before he heads to Cal State Long Beach.
1. Orange County in general: "I think it's a first-class place to live, raise a family, go to school. There are great choices in the county to go to; we're very spoiled to live in such a great, safe county."
2. The coast: "We definitely go to Newport Beach in the summer."
3. & 4. Sharky's and the Steelhead Brewery: "We eat at . . . a variety of places, really. If we're eating out as a family, there are so many places, great places. We don't go to the finest places to eat, more like places you can go to with small children." Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill, 21119 Newport Coast Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-1000; Steelhead Brewery, 4175 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 856-2227.
5. & 6. University Hills(an Irvine community for UC Irvine faculty and staff) and the Irvine Spectrum: "I don't get a lot of evenings off, but when I do, I spend it with my kids—three young boys—and my wife. . . . . Mostly, we stay within the county." Irvine Spectrum, 71 Fortune Dr., Irvine.
7. UC Irvine: "UC Irvine is attractive to any recruitable athlete. It's a great institution for athletics, but we want to make an impact on our players' lives for a long time. There are a low percentage of players who will be able to move up and play in the pros; we want them to get a chance to be successful in life. We devote a lot of time to these young men, both academically and professionally. That's where our success comes from: We surround ourselves with good people."
7a. [Though we couldn't get back to Serrano by press time, we assume the same quote, or something very much like it, applies to Cal State Fullerton.]