If an SEC football coach had a team finish in the bottom third of the conference for five years in a row, that coach would be lucky to still have a job.
Fortunately for Vols baseball coach Dave Serrano, he coaches on the baseball diamond, not the gridiron.
Serrano, whose teams have failed to finish higher than 11th in the SEC in five seasons, received a one-year contract extension, Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart and Serrano announced in a press conference on Thursday.
“I sat down with Dave and the first thing he said to me was, ‘You’re my baseball coach,’ ” Serrano told reporters, according to a report from the Knoxville News Sentinel‘s Dustin Dopirak. “I’m not too proud to say I got pretty emotional at that moment. I probably got more emotional to hear that than if I would’ve heard I wasn’t retained. This is a special place for me. I can admit to this point I haven’t succeeded, but I just ask for patience from people that I think it’s very close.”
The Vols were eliminated by LSU in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Tuesday. Tennessee has compiled a 130-138 record in Serrano’s five seasons at the helm and failed to reach the NCAA Tournament. But those struggles also pre-date Serrano’s tenure, as the team has not qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2005.
“Very simply stated, I still believe in Dave Serrano,” Hart said. “I still think there is hope for us to turn the corner with our baseball program. This struggle is not confined to the Dave Serrano Era as you know full well. We have struggled to get baseball to where we all want it for many years, maybe a dozen years. I’m not happy, Dave Serrano’s not happy with the results after year five, and we had that conversation again this morning.”
Tennessee may have to take a big leap forward in Serrano’s sixth season, or he may not get a seventh.