McCaffrey resigns as University baseball coach; former UC Irvine coach Mike Gerakos takes over
University’s head baseball coach Kevin McCaffrey said on Friday, Aug. 18, that he has resigned as the Trojans’ head coach after one season to accept an assistant coaching job with John Emme’s Corona del Mar program.
Taking over the University program will be former UC Irvine baseball coach Mike Gerakos, 66, a long-time University High assistant coach and the school’s former activities director.
McCaffrey, 37, has been one of University’s athletic directors. He has been with the program for 11 years and served in a number of capacities, including assistant football coach. He replaced long-time Uni baseball coach Chris Conlin.
“I’m pretty excited. Mainly the reason for the move is the things they are offering are the things I’m passionate about,” McCaffrey said. “The main thing is the p.e. teaching job and they want me to start an athletic leadership class and a spirit club. Being able to start that fresh and have the backing of admin and athletics is something I’m really interested in.
“I will work with John Emme (baseball varsity coach) and be one of his assistants. Obviously, leaving Uni was pretty tough for me (considering) how much I love that school and what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 11 years. But ultimately it was a great opportunity for me and I made the decision to transfer over.”
McCaffrey grew up being a bat boy at El Toro, where his father, Tom, was the longtime coach. He was a three-year all-league selection at Laguna Hills.
He also played college football at Cal Lutheran and Saddleback College.
McCaffrey started his coaching career as head freshman coach at El Toro in 2000 and was a varsity assistant at Laguna Hills from 2002-2004. McCaffrey was an assistant coach at Beckman in 2005 and an assistant baseball coach at University from 2006-2014.
McCaffrey was also the interim head football coach at University in 2010 while head coach Mark Cunningham was battling cancer.
McCaffrey also helped build spirit at University home athletic games, forming the Trojan Army to root on Trojan athletes.
University’s baseball team was 6-20 overall and 2-13 in the Pacific Coast League last year in McCaffrey’s only season. But McCaffrey said he saw significant development among his seniors.
“I love those guys and it was heartbreaking to tell those guys the news that I was moving on,” he said. “They are in good hands with Mike Gerakos and it’s going to be tough to have to play them three times next year.”
Gerakos, an Irvine resident, said he is excited about the opportunity to be a head coach for the first time since he last coached at UCI in 1992. He was also the acting head University baseball coach when Chris Conlin was battling cancer in 2011.
Gerakos was the head coach at UCI for 12 years before the program was disbanded in 1992 for budgetary reasons. It was brought back later.
At the time, Gerakos led a fund-raising effort to try and save the program, personally raising $65,000 of his own, according to a story by the Register’s Janis Carr in 1992.
Now, Gerakos is back, as the interim Uni coach.
“For this year for sure,” Gerakos said when asked if he was the new head coach. “I’m 66; I’m just taking it one year at a time. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since I left UCI. It’s a good group of kids (at Uni). I’ve got some loyalty to the kids and I still think there is some gas in the tank for me, so we will see what happens.”
Gerakos also coached at UCLA.
“I’ve been around the game for a long time,” Gerakos said. “Being in activities for as long as I did, it didn’t allow me the freedom to devote 100 percent energy to being a head coach, and now that I’m not activities director, I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a challenge and in the Pacific Coast League, teams have a of kids returning and they have a lot of quality coaches. But we will see what we can come up with.”
Gerakos, highly respected by coaches in the league and the county, doesn’t seem too concerned about being a new head coach at age 66.
“Mike Gillespie (77) is still going strong at UCI (as head baseball coach) so I think there’s hope for me,” he said.
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