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Serrano has no regrets

BASEBALL: He said Fullerton was ultimately a better situation for him than UCI. Delmonico shows interest in UCI job.

September 10, 2007|By Barry Faulkner

Former UC Irvine baseball coach Dave Serrano said Sunday he had no regrets about his decision to take over the Cal State Fullerton program, nor about making comments before his departure that he had no interest in the Fullerton job.

Serrano earlier deflected interest from Oregon by stating he wanted to remain at UCI.

He said Aug. 31, after George Horton left Fullerton to take the Oregon job, that he had no interest in returning to Fullerton, where he pitched one season and was an assistant under Horton for eight seasons before coming to Irvine before the 2005 campaign.

“I have no regrets,” said Serrano, who cited long-term stability, better facilities and a major advantage in tradition as reasons why he chose Fullerton over UCI.

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Serrano also said lucrative shoe and apparel sponsorship contracts at Fullerton will allow him to make more money than he did at UCI.

Serrano said the lack of an athletic director at UCI — Paula Smith became interim A.D. after Bob Chichester resigned in June — was absolutely a factor in his leaving.

He said his decision to leave, announced to Anteaters players at a tearful meeting Friday afternoon, was the second toughest thing he has had to swallow in his life, after the death of his mom.

“I’ve heard words like betrayal, lies and deceit about my leaving UCI,” Serrano said. “But, at the end of the day, when I put my head on the pillow, I feel good about my decision. To the public, I may look like I was a liar and I was deceitful. But I know in my heart and I know people close to me know that the statement I made [about not having interest in the Fullerton job] was made out of loyalty and the friendship that I have with Rick [Vanderhook, a longtime Fullerton assistant who was passed over by Titans Athletic Director Brian Quinn in favor of Serrano].”

Serrano said Quinn told him when he left Fullerton after the Titans won the 2004 national championship that Serrano would be the next coach at Fullerton, if Horton ever left. Serrano said Quinn reiterated that to him on the field before the Anteaters played the Titans in the College World Series in June.

Serrano, named 2007 National Coach of the Year by Baseball America after leading the Anteaters to Omaha in his third season, said he cried like a baby when he informed the Irvine players, many of whom were also crying, of his decision to leave.

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