Pitching Change: WVU Adds Mark Ginther To Replace Dave Serrano
After just one season at West Virginia, veteran coach Dave Serrano has departed the Mountaineer baseball program, and his spot on the staff has been quickly filled by relative youngster Mark Ginther.
Whether Serrano’s handling of the WVU pitching staff was in line with the expectations of head coach Randy Mazey is open for debate, the results on the mound for West Virginia weren’t great. Serrano noted during one mid-season interview that many of the changes he had implemented would take time to bear fruit, but that process was cut short after a year in which the WVU staff posted a 4.79 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. Included were 260 walks, 38 wild pitches and 69 hit batters — all numbers that exceeded those yielded by opposing pitchers.
While it was a foregone conclusion that Serrano would again pursue a head coaching job at some point in his career, his departure from the WVU staff without such a position lined up does raise some questions. He has served as head coach at three different schools, including UC Irvine (2005-07), Cal State Fullerton (2008-11) and Tennessee (2012-17), compiling a career record of 446-302-1. He took the first two teams to the College World Series, but was unable to resurrect a floundering Volunteer program in his six seasons there, and resigned after the 2017 campaign. He noted that he would do some things differently in terms of recruiting and roster management had he the chance to start over in Knoxville.
WVU tabbed Mark Ginther, who comes to West Virginia from Oklahoma State, where he was a four-year letterwinner and spent four seasons on the OSU coaching staff, to fill the open spot. However, he will not move into the pitching coach role, as he will serve as the infield coach and assist with the hitters.
“I am really excited to have Mark join our program,” Mazey said. “He was a tremendous athlete at Oklahoma State and made a big impact as a member of their coaching staff. What I’m really impressed with about him is his character, integrity and work ethic. I am super excited to have Mark be a part of the Mountaineer baseball staff.”
“I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to join the WVU baseball family,” Ginther said. “I want to thank Coach Mazey for believing in me and my abilities to help further develop the WVU program. Coach Mazey and Coach (Steve) Sabins have welcomed me, my wife, Taylor, and our daughter, Blair, to Morgantown and made us feel part of the family from day one. This is a special opportunity for me and my family. None of this would have been possible without Coach (Josh) Holliday and the OSU baseball program. The lessons I have learned on and off the baseball field will stay with me for a lifetime.”
In four years on the Oklahoma State coaching staff, Ginther was the volunteer assistant from 2016-18 and the player development coordinator in 2015. The Cowboys made the NCAA Tournament each season, with a College World Series berth in 2016, and won the Big 12 Championship in 2017.
— Cowboy Baseball (@OSUBaseball) June 26, 2018
As a student-athlete at Oklahoma State from 2009-12, Ginther was a two-time All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honoree and played in two NCAA Tournaments.
In 209 career games, primarily at third base, he hit .296 in his career with 32 home runs, 140 RBIs and 50 doubles. Ginther’s 808 career at-bats rank No. 5 all-time in OSU history, while his 50 career doubles rank No. 8. His 19 sacrifice flies in 2010 is tied for sixth-most in a single season in OSU history. In 2010, he led the team in home runs (12) and RBIs (58), and he had a team-best five homers and 225 at-bats in 2012.
Ginther was selected in the Major League Baseball Draft three times, once out of Jenks High School in 2008 and twice at Oklahoma State, in 2011 and 2012. Following his OSU career, he was drafted in the 24th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and played in 62 games with the Class-A Short Season Yakima Bears in 2012.
Following his professional career, Ginther returned to Stillwater and served as the Cowboys’ volunteer student coach and then as a graduate manager.
A Tulsa, Oklahoma, native, Ginther graduated from Oklahoma State with a degree in management in 2013. He and his wife, Taylor, have one daughter.