Baseball Coach David Perno Resigns Position At UGA
Bulldogs Whip Gators To Claim Series
Bulldogs Beat Gators 3-1
Florida Edges Georgia 4-2
Bulldogs Win Tech Series With 14-13 Comeback
In 11 seasons directing the University of Georgia baseball program, David Perno has guided the Bulldogs to six postseason appearances, more than any other coach in school history. He has taken three Georgia teams to the College World Series (CWS). The 2008 Bulldogs advanced to the CWS Finals, captured a Southeastern Conference (SEC) title, finished with a consensus No. 2 final national ranking and had the second best finish in school history.
Perno, 44, has spent the past 16 years with the Bulldogs, first working as an assistant under Ron Polk and Robert Sapp before being named head coach in July of 2001. Under Perno, Georgia has shown a standard of excellence on and off the field. He has led the Bulldogs to the CWS in 2004, 2006 and 2008. He is one of only 12 men in NCAA history to take three teams to the CWS in his first seven years as a head coach. Perno has the distinction of going to the CWS with the Bulldogs as a player (1990 national champions), assistant coach (2001) and three times as a head coach. In school history, the Bulldogs have made only 11 NCAA postseason appearances, and six of those trips have been during Perno's tenure.
Georgia went 31-26 in 2012, and Perno's work with the pitching staff produced exceptional results including the best Earned Run Average (3.86) by a Bulldog squad in the aluminum bat era (dates back to 1974). Also, defense has been a hallmark for Perno's teams. The 2012 season marked the second year in a row that the team set a record for highest fielding percentage at .978. In 2011, the Bulldogs went 33-32 playing the nation's toughest rated schedule and advanced to the NCAA Corvallis (Ore.) Regional final. After the 2010 season saw Georgia post a record high ERA, Perno decided to take over duties as the pitching coach in 2011. The results were rather impressive considering the staff ERA dropped 3.61 runs a game and this after playing a scheduled that featured 37 games against ranked teams. Also, the Bulldogs set a school record for fielding percentage at .974. Georgia finished fourth in the rugged SEC at 16-14 behind three teams ranked in the top five all season in South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt, as they shared the league crown. For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs dealt with a devastating injury to a starter. This time, it was junior leadoff hitter Johnathan Taylor (J.T.) who sustained a serious neck injury in the 11th game of the year. Perno's squad battled all year, dedicating the season to their fallen teammate and making a dramatic run at the SEC Tournament to qualify for an NCAA Regional at-large bid.
Player development is another highlight in the Perno era. A total of 40 Bulldogs have had the opportunity to play professional baseball after coming to Georgia as a non-drafted player. Also, 16 Bulldogs have improved their draft status the next time they were selected. In 2009, Georgia led the nation with 11 players drafted including seven that were not selected coming out of high school. Rich Poythress, a second round pick, headlined the 2009 contingent as the first baseman earned All-America honors and was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy. In 2010, Georgia had five pitchers drafted while in 2011, seven Bulldogs were selected along with 11 signees. In the 2012 draft, two Bulldogs and five signees were picked.
A total of 31 former Bulldogs coached by Perno have played professional baseball. Currently, there are three Bulldogs at the Major League level: Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), Mitchell Boggs (St. Louis Cardinals) and Jeff Keppinger (Tampa Bay Rays).
Under Perno, student-athletes have made the annual SEC Academic Honor Roll 115 times including a record 17 in 2011. A total of 52 Bulldogs have signed professional contracts.
Since 2006, Georgia has had seven players drafted in the first three rounds including a pair of first-rounders, shortstop Gordon Beckham and pitcher Joshua Fields in 2008 and a first round sandwich pick in outfielder Zach Cone in 2011. The All-American Beckham was a second team Academic All-American, a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, the Dick Howser Trophy and the Brooks Wallace Award. Fields earned the National Stopper of the Year Award as the nation's best closer, was a finalist for the Clemens Award and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes. Pitcher Alex Wood was a second round pick in 2012.
In 2009, Perno guided Georgia to a 14-0 start, breaking the 98-year old record for the best start in school history and the program's first No. 1 ranking in the regular season. The Bulldogs led the SEC with a school record 109 home runs, and for the second straight year, Georgia set school records for total attendance at Foley Field.
With the 2008 SEC title, Georgia earned a national seed and served as a host for an NCAA Regional and Super Regional. The Bulldogs went 45-25-1 overall in reaching the CWS Finals and set a school record with a 20-9-1 league mark. Perno earned SEC Coach of the Year honors for the second time. In 2008, Georgia became the first school in SEC history to sweep the annual league honors as voted on by the coaches. A Bulldog earned SEC Player, Pitcher, Scholar-Athlete and Coach of the Year accolades.
In only his third season at the helm, Perno, an Athens native and Georgia alumnus was honored as the 2004 College Coach of the Year by Baseball America. Perno guided the Bulldogs to a third place finish at the 2004 CWS, a share of the SEC title and a final national ranking of fourth. The Bulldogs went 45-23 in 2004, setting school records with a 12-game SEC winning streak, 28 games televised and the highest total attendance and per game average in Foley Field history.
Perno was also recognized by his colleagues as the 2004 American Baseball Coaches Assocation/Diamond South Regional Coach of the Year, the 2004 SEC Coach of the Year (along with Arkansas' Dave Van Horn) and the 2004 National Coach of the Year by College Baseball Insider.com. Georgia's recruiting class for 2004 was ranked 10th best nationally by Baseball America.
In 2006, the Bulldogs showcased another sizzling second half performance that featured a 13-game winning streak, going 23-7 over their final 30 games. In the SEC, they went 15-5 in their last 20 games to finish second in the Eastern Division and third overall. Georgia earned one of the 16 host sites for NCAA Regional play and eventually one of the eight Super Regional sites. Georgia eliminated Florida State to win a regional and South Carolina to capture a super regional to punch another ticket to Omaha. The Bulldogs concluded the year 47-23 and ranked sixth nationally. The 47 wins tied for the second most in school history and led the SEC.
In 2007, the Bulldogs played the second most games against ranked opponents of any SEC school despite having one of the youngest teams in the league. Georgia freshmen pitchers made 86 appearances, and Bulldog freshmen hitters tallied 703 at bats, and these totals ranked among the top three of any SEC team.
Perno has spearheaded numerous improvements to Foley Field including a new professional playing surface and installation of a drainage system, new and additional chair back seating for the fans and upgrading and renovation of the Bulldog locker room, athletic training room and players lounge. In 2006, the Foley Field upgrades included new lights and a state-of-the-art scoreboard/videoboard and sound system. Foley Field featured all new chairback seating in 2011.
On July 21, 2001, Perno became the 24th baseball coach in school history. He had just completed his fifth year on the Georgia staff including his second under Ron Polk. Perno's recruiting efforts have helped build the program back to a force in the SEC. Perno's initial charge as head coach was to sustain the momentum created by the 2001 Bulldogs that captured the SEC title and advanced to the CWS. After the professional draft and graduation claimed Georgia's entire starting infield, pitching rotation and two catchers, Perno guided a youthful squad to the 2002 NCAA Atlanta Regional final and a record of 32-29. It marked the only time in school history that Georgia had made back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament. Georgia's 2002 schedule ranked among the toughest in the country, featuring 32 road games.
In 2003, the Bulldogs won eight of their last 12 games to finish 29-26. The final part of the schedule featured nine games against opponents ranked in the top 20 and Georgia went 5-4 including a series sweep of Georgia Tech for the first time since 1986. Freshmen played a major role especially in the pitching staff. They combined for a 14-9 mark and accounted for 42 percent of the innings pitched. The 14 wins by the 2003 rookie class tied a school mark. The 2004 season was the second most successful campaign in school history until the 2008 squad finished second. In 2005, Georgia narrowly missed the postseason, going 30-25 and falling a half-game short of qualifying for the SEC Tournament. Georgia tied a school record with six Bulldogs selected in the annual MLB draft including five pitchers. In 2006, Georgia returned again to the CWS.
Before coming back to Georgia, Perno was an assistant under Robert Sapp at Middle Georgia Junior College. In 1996, the Warriors posted a 58-9 mark and third place finish at the JUCO World Series. Perno worked with the pitchers and recruiting.
Following his playing career which included one season at Middle Georgia and three at the University of Georgia, Perno served as an assistant coach at Marshall University for three years. While at Marshall, he received his master's degree in Athletic and Health Education. From 1992-1996, Perno coached the Cortland (N.Y.) Apples in the Northeastern Collegiate Summer League.
Perno, played for Sapp at Middle Georgia in 1987 as the Warriors went 42-6 en route to a third place finish in the state. Perno transferred to the University of Georgia in 1988 where he played his final three seasons in various roles and was a member of the national championship team in 1990. He graduated from Georgia in 1991 with a degree in Marketing Education.
A 1986 graduate of Clarke Central, Perno lettered in baseball and football and was an All-State selection as a senior. He played running back on the 1985 football state championship team and also played on the 1985 American Legion state championship team.
Perno is married to the former Melaney Chastain of Athens, Ga. They have two children, Saidee Woodlyn (12) and David Hayes (8).
Perno's Coaching Record
Georgia Accomplishments Under Perno
3 NCAA College World Series: 2004, 2006, 2008 Finalists
6 NCAA Regional Appearances: 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011
3 NCAA Super Regional Appearances/Titles: 2004, 2006, 2008
2 SEC Titles: 2004, 2008
2004 Baseball America College Coach of the Year 2004
College Baseball Insider National Coach of the Year
2004, 2008 ABCA/Diamond South Regional Coach of the Year
2004, 2008 SEC Coach of the Year
Feb. 22, 2002 (1) *UGA 10, North Carolina 8 (Season Opener)
June 4, 2004 (100) UGA 16, Middle Tenn. 2 (NCAA Athens Regional)
^June 18, 2004 (105) #6 UGA 8, #8 Arizona 7 (College World Series)
April 28, 2007 (200) UGA 9, Kentucky 3 in Lexington, Ky.
April 11, 2010 (300) UGA 6, #15 Ole Miss 3 in Athens
*Savannah, Ga. (Grayson Stadium); ^College World Series debut, Omaha, Neb.
The Perno File
Born: July 5, 1967
High School: Clarke Central, Athens, Ga., 1986
College Education: Univ. of Georgia, B.A.-1991 Marshall University, M.A.-1993
Family: Wife: Melaney Chastain; Children: Saidee (12), Hayes (8)
Collegiate Baseball Experience:
Middle Georgia Junior College, 1987
Univ. of Georgia, 1988, 1990-91, NCAA Champions, 1990
Coaching Career: Head Coach, Cortland (N.Y.) Apples, Northeastern Collegiate Summer League, 1992-1996
Assistant Coach, Marshall University, 1993-1995
Assistant Coach, Middle Georgia Junior College, 1996
Assistant Coach, Univ. of Georgia, June 1996-July 2001
Head Coach, Univ. of Georgia, July 20, 2001-present