BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Bakersfield head baseball coach Bill Kernen has announced his retirement from college baseball, effective at the conclusion of the 2014 season after six seasons at the helm of the Roadrunners.
Kernen, who has led the Roadrunners since the program’s inception in 2009, amassed a 155-168 record while leading the Roadrunners program in the last six seasons. He plans to continue his career as a stage and screen writer while relocating to New York City.
Kernen was hired in May of 2007, to help build the Roadrunners baseball program from the ground up. Not only was he tasked with forming a team for competition, he was also instrumental in the research, development and construction of Hardt Field, in conjunction with local businessman Tom Hardt who donated over $1 million to help build the facility.
“We thank coach Kernen for his six years of service considering he’s taken this program from literally a dream to a national competitor in a short amount of time,” said Jeff Konya, Athletics Director. “Because of his work and success, we feel he’s made this job an attractive opportunity for his successor.”
Along with his 155 wins in six seasons at CSUB, Kernen also led Bakersfield to a Western Athletic Conference regular season championship in 2013 with a 37-22 overall record. His 2011 squad posted a 33-22 mark in just the third season of competition for the program. Notable wins that season included defending national champion South Carolina and perennial powers UCLA and Arizona State from the Pac-12.
Eleven student-athletes under Kernen’s watch have also been selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft including a program-high six selections from the 2013 squad and the program’s highest draft pick Scott Brattvet, who was selected in the 8th round by the Cincinnati Reds.
After helping secure a place as an affiliate member of the Western Athletic Conference for the 2013 season, Kernen’s Roadrunners not only won the league, but he was named WAC Coach of the Year for his efforts while also coaching the WAC Pitcher of the Year Jeff McKenzie and WAC Player of the Year Tyler Shryock, both of whom were drafted by the Chicago White Sox.
Kernen began his four-year collegiate coaching career as pitching coach at Cal State Fullerton in 1978 under current Texas head coach Augie Garrido. While at Fullerton, the Titans went to five NCAA Regionals, appeared in two College World Series and won the 1978 National Championship. Kernen left baseball in 1982 to work with his family business before returning in 1987 to work with Garrido for two more seasons, one in Fullerton and one at the University of Illinois.
In 1989, Kernen was named the head coach at Cal State Northridge and remained there until 1995. He led the Matadors through their NCAA Division I reclassification while they also went 44-18-1 during their first season of Division I play, advancing to the West Regional Championship game in 1991. He posted a 240-154-3 record in five seasons as a head coach at Northridge.
Following the 1995 season, Kernen stepped away from baseball and enrolled in the prestigious dramatic writing program at Columbia University where he wrote and produced two full-length plays. He wrote two others after finishing the program as well, one of which was a 1998 finalist for the Oglebay Institute National Playwriting Competition.
He returned to baseball in 2002 as an assistant at NC State and again in 2007 as a volunteer at Fullerton before coming to Bakersfield the following season. Kernen graduated cum laude from Redlands in 1970 while also being named SCIAC Player of the Year in 1970. He was drafted as a pitcher by the Baltimore Orioles and played three seasons in the Orioles organization before starting his coaching career. He has compiled a 394-321-3 all-time record as a head coach.
A national search will be conducted for Kernen’s successor. He will continue to lead his squad for the remainder of the season.