Sept. 10, 2010
Fullerton, Calif. - Five former Titans including four standout student-athletes have returned to Cal State Fullerton as assistant coaches as part of numerous staff changes for the 2010-11 academic year.
Veteran Richard Gishi, head coach of women's gymnastics in 2006 and an assistant for 10 years, returns to assist current Head Coach Jill Hicks while Kirk Saarloos, P. J. Pilittere, Neil Walton, and Carolyn Ellis begin their coaching careers -- Saarloos and Pilittere with the baseball team, Walton with women's golf and Ellis with cross country and track and field. Also joining the Titan softball ranks will be new assistant Chez Sievers from Texas and volunteer assistant Sara Pickering from Florida State.
In baseball, Assistant Coach Greg Bergeron will take over as recruiting coordinator and volunteer Gregg Wallis has been made a full-time assistant coach. Former Assistant Coach Sergio Brown has been reassigned due to philosophical differences with Head Coach Dave Serrano, who stressed that it was not a performance issue nor were NCAA rules violated. Brown's new title will be director of corporate sales and community relations for the athletic department. Saarloos will be an undergraduate assistant while Pilittere will be a volunteer. Departing the program are facilities manager Brett Lindgren and undergraduate assistant Jake Silverman for assistant coaching positions at Santa Clara and UCLA, respectively.
Gishi left CSF after the 2006 season to assume a lucrative position with a private gymnastics club. His Titan career began as a volunteer assistant to Coach Lynn Rogers from 1995 to 1998 and he returned as the lead assistant to Julie Knight-Bowse for 2000-05. He also has coached at SCATS in Huntington Beach. He is a 1998 CSF graduate but competed for three seasons (1978 to 1980) at UCLA.
Saarloos pitched in parts of seven major league seasons with Houston, Oakland and Cincinnati. The righthander compiled a 29-30 career record with two saves. He has returned to campus to complete his bachelors degree and will replace Silverman as an undergraduate assistant. He was an All-American for the Titans in 2001 when he went 15-2 with 4 saves and finished with a school record 127 career appearances.
Pilittere is wrapping up his seventh minor league season as a catcher with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the International League playoffs this weekend. He will become a free agent who hopes to be playing again In the Spring. He was a four-year (2001-04) letterman and was the starting first baseman on the Titans' 2004 national championship team.
Walton was the starting shortstop on the Titans' 2004 national championship team. A three-year (2003-05) letterman, he played several seasons in the minor leagues before returning to campus to complete his bachelors degree last May and begin a career as a sport psychologist.
Ellis was a two-time (2008 and 2010) Big West Conference champion in the steeplechase and she holds the school record for the 5K run at 16:33.72. She also ran cross country and picked up four All-Big West academic team honors despite losing virtually all of the 2008-09 seasons to leg injuries.
Sievers was a three-time All-Big 12 selection for Texas and an All-American in 2005. She has been coaching in the private sector. Pickering spent five seasons as an assistant at UNLV and Stanford before working the last two years for the Seminoles. She played every game at second base for four years (1994-97) for Washington, where she was the school's first two-time first-team All-American.