Baseball America has learned that UC Irvine will hire former Southern California coach Mike Gillespie as its new head baseball coach, replacing Dave Serrano, who left for Cal State Fullerton.
Obviously this news adds a little more spice to Southern California’s baseball dynamics. Gillespie retired in 2006–perhaps not entirely of his own choosing–after 20 seasons at USC, where he coached 28 future major leaguers, led the Trojans to four College World Series and the 1998 national championship. He was replaced by his son-in-law, Chad Kreuter, but Gillespie wasn’t finished with baseball, so he took a job as the manager of the short-season Staten Island Yankees in the New York-Penn League.
I loved the idea of having Gillespie at SI; he’s got a long and successful history of dealing with young guys in crucial phases of their life, and he’s also dealt with his fair share of uber-talented phenoms on their way to stardom. Oh well, life goes on.
Just as a quick recap, Cal State Fullerton coach George Horton took the job at Oregon, which is resurrecting it’s baseball program after a 15+ year hiatus. Fullerton hired Horton’s former assistant, Dave Serrano, to replace him after Serrano took Irvine to it’s first ever College World Series in 2007. Gillespie completes the coaching carousel chairs and takes over at Irvine.
If you aren’t familar with college ball, the moves are basically equivalent to Joe Torre leaving the Yanks for an expansion team (Horton to Fullerton), Bud Black leaving the Padres for the Yanks (Serrano to Fullerton), and Bobby Valentine coming back to coach the Padres.