George Horton and Dave Serrano are two coaches at a crossroad.
Their paths last crossed when their teams played in college baseball's grandest stage.
In Omaha, Neb., Horton was calm and collected, happy to stumble into the College World Series.
Serrano was the underdog, taking a virtually unknown team of UC Irvine into the pinnacle of the college game.
A former player and assistant for Horton, Serrano implemented the same small-ball mentality that Horton also used in his system. Both coaches knew each other's players; both knew each other's family; both considered each other family.
The outcome was the longest game in College World Series history. Deadlocked at four runs apiece, Serrano finally got a base hit to end the mirror matchup.
What both coaches didn't realize then was how monumental the game was to determining the outcome of their careers.
When the dust settled, the Cinderella UCI Anteaters defeated the Titans and ultimately grabbed the reins vacated by Horton. Earlier this month, Horton took a substantial pay raise to re-invigorate an Oregon Ducks baseball program. Having re-instated a baseball program himself, Serrano, tempted by the offer, took the Cal State Fullerton job.
While others questioned his reasons for leaving an up-and-coming program at UCI, Serrano became a Titan in hopes to re-establish the program he helped defeat in the College World Series.
While Horton has visions of leaving his legacy as a coach who turned a program around in Oregon, Serrano took a program known as baseball royalty. Both seem to cross each other for a handshake, nodding their heads, empathizing, while passing each other and not looking back.
Both have been in each other's shoes, both seem destined to outdo each other in every aspect.
The Titans baseball team received a confidence boost with the hiring of Serrano. Titan Land was left out to dry by the resignation of Horton, and in Serrano the Titans found a coach who will not only establish order, but will take Titan baseball to the next level. In every facet of the game, Serrano seems to gain an edge on his former mentor.
This coaching job will usher in a new era, one led by a coach dedicated to winning.
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