“This is an extraordinary opportunity for me,” said Gillespie, who fills the vacancy left when Dave Serrano left to become coach at Cal State Fullerton after guiding the Anteaters to a third-place finish in the program’s first Division I College World Series last season. “I’m looking forward greatly and with great anticipation to being a part of the continued development of this program.”
With characteristic humor and casual ease, Gillespie spoke from the cuff, answered media questions and blanketed praise on the UCI administration, the previous coaching staff, and the current crop of players, who lined the room, before heading onto the field to complete their second official workout under Gillespie and associate head coach Pat Shine.
Shine, a former UCI assistant whom Gillespie, 67, has said will be his heir apparent, perhaps as quickly as when the three-year contract expires, was also on hand.
Gillespie said he plans to name a pitching coach before the end of the week.
Gillespie’s contract is for three years with an annual base salary of $140,000. A school release said he is also eligible to earn as much as $150,000 from shoe, apparel and equipment deals. Incentive bonuses of $27,000 would also be paid for making the postseason, advancing to College World Series and being named National Coach of the Year.
“I certainly intend to complete the length of that contract,” said Gillespie, who worked as a scout for the New York Yankees and managed the franchise’s short-season Class A affiliate in the New York-Penn League, the Staten Island (N.Y). Yankees, last season, after retiring from USC following the 2006 season.