McGarity: Perno to Return Next Season

GREENSBORO, Ga. - Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity ended speculation over the future of baseball coach David Perno before it could even begin.

Speaking to reporters at the Athletic Association Board of Directors meeting at the Ritz Carlton, McGarity said Perno would return next season.

"It's not even an issue." McGarity said.

Perno's team was eliminated at the SEC Tournament Tuesday by Auburn after a late rally fell short. With a season record of 31-26, the team must receive an at-large bid for a chance to play for the NCAA title.

"We're holding out hope that we may have an at-large," McGarity said. "Stranger things have happened."

Should the Bulldogs miss out on postseason play, it would mark the second time in the last three seasons that Georgia has been left out.

Adding to fan frustration, since playing for the national title in 2008, the Bulldogs have gone 50-67 in conference play. The successes of South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt have added to the growing concern regarding Perno's job security.

McGarity says results must improve but refused to single out the baseball team.

"Baseball is no different than any sport," he said. "You want to see improvement in every sport. I can say that across the board."

And now fielding questions about Perno's future, McGarity refused to call next season a critical year.

"Every year is critical. Every year is crucial," McGarity said. "There's not one year that's more important than others. They're all really important."

A member of the 1990 National Championship team, Perno has been a coach with the program for 16 seasons -- 11 as head coach.

The team has made three trips to the College World Series under his direction. If a fourth is to be added to his resume, the selection committee's approval of an at-large bid will be needed.

"We play in a very tough league, the toughest in the country and we beat everybody at least once, but now it's out of our hands," Perno said. "I would love for this team to get a shot, but like I said, we can't control that anymore."

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