Aug. 25, 2006
Fullerton, Calif. - "Cal State Fullerton baseball is excited to announce the return of Bill Kernen to the Titan family," Head Coach George Horton declared upon the hiring of the program's new volunteer assistant coach. Horton added, "We are delighted to add a coach with Bill's credentials to our staff. His resume speaks for itself. He will be a quality replacement for the loss of Coach Silva."
Bill Kernen, 58, returns to the Fullerton coaching staff after a 19-year absence. Kernen has coached for the Titans before, from 1978-82 and again in 1987. He will replace Ted Silva, the team's volunteer pitching coach from 2005-06. Silva, a former All-American pitcher for the Titans, will be leaving Fullerton for a paid position at Fresno State.
Kernen is returning to Southern California baseball after an 11-year hiatus. He has spent the last 11 years working as a New York City playwright, with a brief coaching detour at North Carolina State in 2002-03. He was also the head coach at Cal State Northridge for seven years.
After stints at his alma mater San Gorgonio High School (1974-76) and Orange Coast College (1976-77), Kernen started his Division I coaching career when Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Augie Garrido hired him on as a pitching coach in 1978. In five seasons at CSF, Kernen guided Titan pitching to five consecutive post-season berths, including two trips to the College World Series (1979 and 1982) and one national championship in 1979. Following the 1982 season, he left baseball to pursue other business opportunities.
Kernen returned to the field and to Fullerton for the 1987 season and again guided the Titan arms to the NCAA Regionals in New Orleans, Louisiana. In six years at Fullerton, Kernen coached 14 pitchers selected by Major League Baseball in the amateur draft, including Gary Buckles, Larry Casian, Jeff Robinson and No. 1 draft pick Mike Harkey, who eventually reached the big leagues. When Garrido left Fullerton in 1988 for Illinois, he took with him his trusted pitching coach who he would lose just one year later.
In 1988, Northridge hired Kernen to be its head coach with the challenge for upgrading the traditionally strong Division II program to one that would compete at the Division I level. He did just that.
From 1989-1995, the Matador skipper posted a 240-154-3 overall record (.609) that included three trips to the post-season and a near-miss trip to the College World Series in CSUN's first year at the Division I level (1991), with a 6-5 loss to Fresno State in the Regional championship game.
After seven seasons, with the Cal State Northridge baseball program on the brink of extinction due to budget cuts, Kernen left his post as the Matadors' head coach in 1995 and moved to New York to study at Columbia University to become a writer.
While at Columbia, Kernen wrote and produced two full-length plays, And Other Fairy Tales and A Graveyard Symphony by 1997. Two more, Galleria degli Angeli (1998) and Musica de Mariposa (1999), would follow in the next two years, with his 1998 effort being honored as a finalist in the Oglebay Institute National Playwriting Competition.
Kernen graduated cum laude in 1970 from the University of Redlands, where he played college ball. His 11 wins, 1.26 ERA in 106 innings in 1970 earned the Bulldog hurler First-Team All-SCIAC, Player of the Year, and Athlete of the Year honors, as well as a place in the Redlands record book. His 11 victories tie him with Gary Sherman (1965) for the most in a single season at Redlands. The pitcher was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, an organization he would play with for three seasons before starting his coaching career in 1974.
Kernen and his wife Betty will be relocating from Tampa, Florida in the coming weeks.