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Serrano committed to building at UCI

BASEBALL: Coach, who completed third season, is focusing on future success after whirlwind postseason run to CWS in Omaha.

June 30, 2007|By Barry Faulkner

Nine days after his program capped a storybook season that culminated in it's debut appearance in the College World Series, UC Irvine baseball coach Dave Serrano said Friday that the offseason is still merely a concept.

"It has been a whirlwind," Serrano said of the aftermath of a historic campaign in which the Anteaters (47-17-1) won the program's first Division I Regional, Super Regional, and finished tied for third in Omaha, where their two dramatic extra-inning victories thrilled a national television audience and, as Serrano has said, put UCI baseball on the map.

"It has been crazy busy, but I wouldn't want it any other way," said Serrano, who has set about plans for his fourth year at the helm with his trademark enthusiasm. "I've been having a lot of meetings and returning a lot of e-mails and phone calls. I know doing all this was because of the great year we had and I'll take it."

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Serrano said he would also like to take the opportunity to dispel speculation that he might be lured away any time soon by another coaching job.

"For my family situation and my situation here at UCI, the job isn't done yet," Serrano said. "This is my home and I want to build something here. We're in the process of doing that and I'm excited about what the future brings here. I love this place, love living in the community, love the university and, most important, I love these players and [assistant] coaches. I'll never say never [in regard to leaving], but it would take something pretty special to pry me away. I want to make this home for awhile and continue to prove to people that with hard work, you can do almost anything.

"I don't think a lot of people will doubt that we can have success any more, and with that comes expectations, which is a good thing. I want people to walk through the gates of Anteater Ballpark expecting to go to Omaha."

Speculation about Serrano leaving centered around Tennessee, where he was pitching coach and recruiting coordinator under Rod Delmonico in 1995-96. Delmonico was fired June 3 after 18 seasons.

But Tennessee announced on June 21, the day after UCI was eliminated in Omaha, it had hired former Western Carolina Coach Todd Raleigh to replace Delmonico.

Serrano said he has received congratulatory words from members of the community and the university, as well as many alumni. He said correspondence from UCI faculty members has been particularly gratifying.

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