KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee baseball will be headed in another direction under a new coach after this season.
Coach Dave Serrano notified athletics director John Currie that he will resign at the end of this season. Larry Simcox will serve as the interim coach during a national search for Serrano’s replacement, according to a school release.
Tennessee is 27-22 and 7-18 in SEC play. It hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2005.
Serrano has been under great scrutiny since Currie became athletics director on April 1.
Getting swept at Kentucky last weekend appears to have sealed his fate.
Serrano said in the release:
“On Monday evening, John and I had what I felt was a very honest and a productive conversation about Tennessee baseball program. My decision to step aside at season’s end is based off what I believe is in the best interest of our student-athletes and this program.”
Tennessee baseball has been one of the least successful sports programs on campus traditionally with one of the bottom facilities in the SEC.
This, despite talent-rich high school baseball programs nearby that produce major league talent and draw recruiters from around the nation.
SEC Rant ranked SEC baseball programs from a historical perspective two years ago, and Tennessee was next to last.
Kentucky, which was ranked last in 2015, has become a top-10 program with a baseball facility under construction.
This was a difficult season for Serrano, whose son, Kyle, left the team midseason for “medical reasons,” according to a release at the time.
Serrano also suspended two upperclassmen for undisclosed reasons, leaving his team inexperienced at key positions.
Four freshmen were in the regular lineup, and two of the top three pitchers were freshmen.
The Vols appeared to be making a late run, winning seven times in nine games and finding their way into 12th in the SEC standings with a top-40 RPI.
Then, Tennessee got swept at Kentucky, enabling Georgia to pass the Vols for the final berth in the SEC Tournament — barring the Bulldogs getting swept this weekend and Tennessee sweeping Missouri.
Serrano came to Tennessee with as good a resume as anyone could want. He is one of only 12 coaches in NCAA history to lead two programs to the College World Series.
“This program clearly means a great deal to Dave, and I appreciate that,” Currie said. “He steps away with plenty to be proud of. The program possesses a talented and promising young core. And the culture of academic achievement he and his staff fostered yielded positive results in terms of APR scores and graduation success rates.”
Serrano went 157-160 with the Vols, however, and failed to get the team into the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
“I’m very proud of what we accomplished with the program internally, but I realize it ultimately comes down to wins and losses,” Serrano said. “I’ll always be a big Vol fan and will continue to support and cheer this great university.”
Tennessee baseball past 15 seasons
(Seed represents SEC Baseball Tournament seed)
Coach Dave Serrano
2017: 27-22, 7-18, No. 13 seed (still in progress)
2016: 29-28, 9-21, No. 12 seed
2015: 24-26, 11-18, No. 12 seed
2014: 31-23, 12-18, No. 11 seed
2013: 22-30, 8-20 (SEC tourney expands to 12 teams, from 10)
2012: 24-31, 8-22 (SEC tourney expands to 10 teams, from 8)
Coach Todd Raleigh
2011: 25-29, 7-23
2010: 30-26, 12-18
2009: 26-29, 11-19
2008: 27-29, 12-18
Coach Rod Delmonico
2007: 34-25, 13-15, No. 8 seed
2006: 31-24, 11-18
2005: 46-21, 18-11, No. 3 seed, College World Series
2004: 38-24, 14-16, No. 8 seed, NCAA Tournament
2003: 31-24, 13-17
2002: 27-28, 12-18