Speculation swirled over the last few days as to the job status of Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano. On Thursday, athletic director Dave Hart put all rumors to rest and announced that Serrano will continue to be the head coach of the Vol baseball program for at least another year. Serrano received a one-year extension on his original contract from the University and the terms, which include a $450,000 salary, will remain the same.
“I still believe in Dave Serrano. I still think there is hope for us to turn the corner with our baseball program,” Hart said.
After Hart fielded questions from press members, Coach Serrano took to the podium and began by saying, ” Today is a great day. I’m very grateful.”
Serrano has accumulated an overall record of 130-138 in five years at UT. His in-conference record stands at 48-100. In 2016, the Vols finished at 29-28 and were knocked out of the first round of the SEC Baseball Tournament after losing to LSU 5-4 in a game where Tennessee held a 4-0 lead.
“We haven’t won enough to satisfy me, for sure. … But the winning is going to happen. I’m very confident about that.” Serrano said.
It was not until Thursday morning that Serrano found out his fate. His five-year contract was up for renewal and he was set to meet with Hart to discuss his future. “I took my normal drive that I do every morning really not knowing,” Serrano recounted, “Having confidence in what I’ve established as a man. As a leader of this program. But also knowing that we haven’t won at a level that anyone’s expectations should be at.”
According to Serrano, Hart wasted no time and immediately told him that he would be keeping his job for another year. “I sat down with Dave and the first thing he said to me was ‘you’re my baseball coach.’ I’m not too proud to say that I got pretty emotional at that moment. … This is a special place for me. And I can admit that to this point I haven’t succeeded but I just ask for patience from people.”
Serrano’s squad will be losing eight senior players to graduation and junior Nick Senzel is projected as a first-round pick in the MLB draft and is expected to leave, as well. UT currently has the 17th ranked recruiting class in America, according to Perfect Game, and no prospects have yet de-committed in light of Thursday’s news.
“I’ll sum it up this way,” Serrano told reporters, “I deal with 35 young men every day in the locker room on our team. Every one of those guys matures at different stages of their career. And I think that’s the thing that continues to motivate me and drive me. It’s that this program is just taking a little bit longer to mature and it’s getting closer to maturing.”