Dave Serrano's right-hand man, Greg Bergeron, to be named to coaching staff

Shortly after his boss for the past seven years, Dave Serrano, told him he was leaving Cal State Fullerton to become Tennessee’s new baseball coach, Greg Bergeron made his pitch to become the Titans’ new head coach.

It was respectfully denied.

“They were looking for someone who had a little deeper roots in the Titan family,” Bergeron said. “I understood that.”

Bergeron, though, also understood that another, “pretty awesome” opportunity awaited him as a member on Serrano’s staff with the Vols. All he needed was a quick tour of the campus and the OK from his wife, Anne Marie, before making it official Thursday.

Bergeron, 41, will serve as Serrano’s right-hand man, the associate head coach, on a staff that is still being pieced together.

“You go through the gauntlet of emotions: excitement, a little scared, nervous,” Bergeron said. “At the end of the day when the dust settles, I think it’s going to be a great opportunity and a great move for me professionally and for raising my family.”

Terms of Bergeron’s agreement with UT were not made available.

Bergeron first teamed up with Serrano in 1991 as a freshman at Cerritos College in Southern California. Serrano was just a few years into his coaching career and it was the only year Bergeron played at the school before moving on to Cal State Dominguez Hills, but a bond was formed.

The two reunited more than a decade later, when Serrano took over as the head coach at UC Irvine in 2005. He quickly called Bergeron, who had just wrapped up his first year as the head coach at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., and hired him as his third-base coach and offensive strategist.

The two have stuck together ever since, as Bergeron followed Serrano to Fullerton and is doing the same now that Serrano is at UT.

“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,” Serrano said in a university statement. “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 has the numbers to back it up.

In Bergeron’s four years at Fullerton, the Titans ranked among the top three schools in the Big West in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, sacrifices and stolen bases. In 2010, the Titans notched the second-best batting average (.337) in team history.

“We have an understanding for each other and we kind of know what each other is thinking. Our players see that and feed off it,” Bergeron said of his relationship with Serrano. “We’re all on the same page and we all have the same approach.”

Though his initial reaction to Serrano’s departure from Fullerton might have been to apply for his boss’ old job, Bergeron said he’s excited for the challenge that the “pinnacle of baseball” in the SEC will present.

“For our profession, it’s kind of like the big leagues,” he said. “We know we have some work to do . . . (Serrano) likes to take on challenges. We’re going to have to work hard and do our deal.”

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 23

boonhower writes:

Still has a few holes to fill? Call Burke. Do it.

FearlessFreep writes:

Must mean Bergeron's not a candidate for the CSF opening.

Hard to argue with keeping a consistent team together.

easleychuck writes:

It will be nice to end the chaos that has been the baseball program for the past 4 years.

marnel1958 writes:

Now, I will be happy if he adds Chris Burke and Larry Simcox. What a coaching staff!!!!

uttcut writes:

Great news! Welcome!

CoverOrange writes:

As long as he doesn't rip his shirt off and crush Red Bull cans on his forehead...

iowa_vol writes:

Why the hell are people calling for Simcox. Wasn't he a Delmonico lackey? Better to try to bring Fred Corral back. Better yet...move in another direction and don't hang your hat on a past that we need to close the books on. If you can find the right alum...and maybe Burke is that guy...then it would be cool to see a player return to coach in the program. Another thought, hire Mark Connor as your pitching guru. There aren't too many better and he may be open to an assistants role instead of the HC position and all of the phooey that goes with it.

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to boonhower:

Still has a few holes to fill? Call Burke. Do it.

BURKE HAS NO COACHING EXPERIENCE.

Do you still not get it?

He already interviewed for the head coaching job, but got turned down.

Do you know why? Take a guess.

BURKE HAS NO COACHING EXPERIENCE.

Would somebody at the KNS please ban Chris Burke's family from posting on these baseball forums?

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to marnel1958:

Now, I will be happy if he adds Chris Burke and Larry Simcox. What a coaching staff!!!!

No Burke.

Forget it.

He already got turned down for the head coaching job because he has no coaching experience.

HEY KNS!!! CHRIS BURKE'S FAMILY IS POSTING ON HERE AGAIN!!!!

flatrock writes:

in response to us43137415#376444:

BURKE HAS NO COACHING EXPERIENCE.

Do you still not get it?

He already interviewed for the head coaching job, but got turned down.

Do you know why? Take a guess.

BURKE HAS NO COACHING EXPERIENCE.

Would somebody at the KNS please ban Chris Burke's family from posting on these baseball forums?

I recall that Pat Head had no coaching experience when she was hired. That worked out pretty well, I'd say...

bryan14 writes:

Other than the fact that Chris Burke was a both a great player and person while at the University of Tennessee why should CDS hire the young man? Chris tried to land the head coaching job and has no coaching experience. There is an old rule that a coach should never hire someone that applied for their job. IMO, if Chris Burke wants to coach on the college level he should use his professional contacts to get the job as the 3rd assistant at a small college and go to work learning the art of coaching. There is a big difference between playing the game and coaching the game. Many times the best coach was not the best palyer.

Atuss writes:

The staff has already been hired. Burke is not part of it. The other asst. and the volunteer will be anounced soon- its Bill Mosiello and Greg Wallin.

Rookie2 writes:

That's what I'm talking about... do your deal boys... do your deal.

FarmerVol writes:

This is good news. I might even go to a game now. Still will keep my Phil Fulmer mask close by, just in case. GBO BB.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

A .337 team batting average?!?!?! That's insane! Been around baseball for quite some time, but a .337 team batting average? Baseball couldn't get here quick enough.

On the other hand, Serrano has been a GREAT pitching coach through the years as an assistant. He was pitching coach here when we went to the CWS. Not sure if he will coach pitching as a HC, but here's to hoping he will. Him having his hand on the pitching along with Bergeron guiding the offense could make for some fun nights over at Lindsey Nelson.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

No disrespect to our former coaches, but we have never had a consistent baseball program in the 30 years I have been around it. We have been to the World Series once. We have never had the program we should have year after year. It would be nice if we could establish one now. These guys are excited. Give them whatever they need. Get them an extra scholarship or two (within legal parameters) and let's get on with it. I grew up in a baseball system based on excellence. I saw other programs in the state also based on excellence. Then I got to UT and it was less than I was accustomed to. I never understood why. Then I see the women's softball team ( which I like) rise out of the ashes in 10 years to be a top 5 program in the country. It's time to treat baseball with respect. It won't ever hurt Football or Basketball. It's pretty cool when it's done well. And it can be a lot of fun to fill up the stands on a spring day when there's not a lot else going on. LSU has a great program. So does Florida. So do the Gamecocks. So does Vandy....Vandy........Say it again...Vandy........That alone should be enough......Vandy............

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

No disrespect to our former coaches, but we have never had a consistent baseball program in the 30 years I have been around it. We have been to the World Series once. We have never had the program we should have year after year. It would be nice if we could establish one now. These guys are excited. Give them whatever they need. Get them an extra scholarship or two (within legal parameters) and let's get on with it. I grew up in a baseball system based on excellence. I saw other programs in the state also based on excellence. Then I got to UT and it was less than I was accustomed to. I never understood why. Then I see the women's softball team ( which I like) rise out of the ashes in 10 years to be a top 5 program in the country. It's time to treat baseball with respect. It won't ever hurt Football or Basketball. It's pretty cool when it's done well. And it can be a lot of fun to fill up the stands on a spring day when there's not a lot else going on. LSU has a great program. So does Florida. So do the Gamecocks. So does Vandy....Vandy........Say it again...Vandy........That alone should be enough......Vandy............

VERY, VERY good post.

kingofthevols writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

No disrespect to our former coaches, but we have never had a consistent baseball program in the 30 years I have been around it. We have been to the World Series once. We have never had the program we should have year after year. It would be nice if we could establish one now. These guys are excited. Give them whatever they need. Get them an extra scholarship or two (within legal parameters) and let's get on with it. I grew up in a baseball system based on excellence. I saw other programs in the state also based on excellence. Then I got to UT and it was less than I was accustomed to. I never understood why. Then I see the women's softball team ( which I like) rise out of the ashes in 10 years to be a top 5 program in the country. It's time to treat baseball with respect. It won't ever hurt Football or Basketball. It's pretty cool when it's done well. And it can be a lot of fun to fill up the stands on a spring day when there's not a lot else going on. LSU has a great program. So does Florida. So do the Gamecocks. So does Vandy....Vandy........Say it again...Vandy........That alone should be enough......Vandy............

UT has been to the CWS twice...both times under Delmonico.

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to flatrock:

I recall that Pat Head had no coaching experience when she was hired. That worked out pretty well, I'd say...

Nice recollection (and very good example), but when Coach Summitt was hired, there was virtually no program, and absolutely no competition way back then.

Pat started from the ground floor and went up from there.

Fast forward 30 years.

Head coach hires nowadays don't start at the bottom in the competitive SEC. You have to go with a proven starter, a coach who has already won on the high level, not someone who's never coached before.

Oh well.. water under the bridge. CDS's staff is complete, and Burke is not part of it, AND for a VERY good reason.

As an assistant, Burke would have lasted maybe a season, before moving on. As a head coach, he would have lasted only a couple of years (because he has no coaching experience, his contract would have only been that long).

Joan made a good hire, and Serrano has made good hires, too.

Let's accept them and get ready for next year. GO VOLS!!!!!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to marnel1958:

Now, I will be happy if he adds Chris Burke and Larry Simcox. What a coaching staff!!!!

Well as long as you are happy the rest of the Vol Nation need to be concerned.

VOLSERIOUS writes:

Who's the A.D. making these moves? Hire that cat please :)

VOLSERIOUS writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Class of 83 at ole crazy town. Here's to ya Bob.
Go Vols!

Hacksaw57 writes:

Can't argue with a successful staff record that speaks for itself. This is a good first step towards stability and a foundation to build on. Just kinda uneasy about all the West-Coast flavor in the tough SEC type of baseball but maybe that's what it will take.

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