The Diamond Dogs failed to make the 64-team NCAA field for the second time in three years, and the Classic City Canines have not advanced as far as a super regional since 2008. Clearly, some changes were needed, and David Perno has made them, as a staff shakeup in the baseball program was announced today.
Previously, the full-time Georgia coaching staff consisted of David Perno, Jason Eller, and Allen Osborne, but, as of today, the Georgia baseball coaching staff consists of David Perno, Allen Osborne, and Jason Eller! That, my friends, is change in which we may believe.
No, I’m not kidding. After Greg McGarity made it plain that mediocrity would be tolerated in the Bulldogs’ oldest varsity sport to an extent that would not be judged acceptable anywhere else within the athletics program, Coach Perno felt free to address his team’s obvious deficiencies by rearranging the
deck chairs on the Titanic chairs at the conference table.
Two years after hiring himself as his own pitching coach, Coach Perno has turned that duty over to Coach Eller, who assisted with the pitchers previously, evidently to good effect:
In 2011, the Bulldogs reduced their Earned Run Average (ERA) by 3.61 runs a game. In 2012, Georgia's ERA was its lowest in the aluminum bat era which dates back to 1974.
That massive reduction in ERA in 2011 sounds pretty good, until you pause to consider that 2010 was the worst baseball season in Georgia history, and that year’s hurling was so bad that the pitching coach was fired. As for having the lowest ERA “in the aluminum bat era,” well, yeah, that’s going to happen when the NCAA changes the specifications to bring about a “dead bat” era in college baseball!
Whatever successes the pitching staff may have had this season---and there were minuses to go along with the plusses, to put it politely---were to a large extent attributable to Alex Wood, who has been lost to the professional baseball draft, and Michael Palazzone, who has been lost to graduation. Wood and Palazzone were the Diamond Dogs’ only reliable season-long weekend starters, and now Coach Perno is going to turn over the task of rebuilding the pitching staff to his top existing assistant in that area? Uh, Dave, does the name “Mike Bobo” mean anything to you?
In addition to Wood and Palazzone, the Red and Black lose Joey Delmonico, Chase Hawkins, Jonathan Hester, Levi Hyams, Colby May, Peter Verdin, and three members of the incoming freshman class who were drafted in the first two rounds. It’s going to take a lot to lift this program out of the doldrums in which it has languished consistently since the 2008 College World Series finals, and more of the same obviously isn’t going to get it done.
Unfortunately, more of the same is all we’re going to get, as Foley Field remains within Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall’s blind spot and Coach Perno contentedly confirms that, the more things stay the same, the more things stay the same. A year from now, the Diamond Dogs are going to be one year older and not one bit better. Count on it.