Bill Kernen, 58, returns to the Fullerton coaching staff after a
19-year absence, replacing Ted Silva as the Titans' volunteer
assistant coach. Kernen served as Augie Garrido's pitching coach
for the Titans from 1978-82, and then again in 1987 and will again
work with the pitching staff under Head Coach George Horton.
Kernen is returning to Southern California baseball after an
11-year hiatus. He has spent the better part of the last decade
working in New York City as a playwright, with a brief coaching
detour at North Carolina State in 2002-03. Despite being away from
the game for a while, his coaching resume is far from empty.
In 1988, Cal State Northridge hired Kernen to be its head coach
with the challenge of upgrading the strong Division II program to
one that would compete at the Division I level. 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
Kernen's 1991 squad finished the season ranked No. 10 in
Collegiate Baseball's final poll, becoming just the second team in
the history of the poll to ever finish in the top 10 in the nation
in its first year at the Division I level. The only other team to
accomplish the feat was Garrido's 1975 Titans, who finished 8th in
the country in their inaugural season at D-I status.
After seven seasons, and with the 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.
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 with Cal State Fullerton 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
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,
with four (Gary Buckles, Larry Casian, Jeff Robinson and No. 1
draft pick Mike Harkey) reaching the big leagues. When Garrido left
Fullerton in 1988 for Illinois, he took with him his trusted
pitching coach whom he would lose just one year later.
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
Kernen graduated cum laude in 1970 from the University of
Redlands, where he played college ball. His 11 wins and 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, live in Placentia.