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Honeymoonus Interruptus: Dave Serrano's Educational Credentials are Mostly Irrelevant

Well that didn't take long. Tennessee hired Dave Serrano less than a month ago, and the traditional honeymoon period has been cut short. I know there were message board discussions about it almost immediately, but now the news outlets are questioning his education as well.

Apparently, UT coaching gigs generally require a bachelor's degree. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps because it's a measure of devotion to the educational process? Sort of a paying your dues kind of thing? Anyway, the listing for the baseball job said a bachelor's was desired, but not required. You can make of that whatever you want. If it was written specifically with Serrano in mind, my response is so what.

In any event, Serrano has a bachelor's degree, but it's from The Trinity College and University, which is incorporated in Delaware and based out of Spain, and it rewards degrees for life experience, a euphemistic phrase that suggests that it's a diploma mill. Serrano says he's not trying to hide anything, but you may be asking yourself why he would get a mail-order bachelor's degree if that was truly the case. He got it because his prior employer asked him to get it. So there.

This whole thing is ridiculous. Higher education has this over-fascination with the education of its educators that completely misses the mark of what really matters in education. The question should be whether a professor can teach, not how far down the expert continuum he's managed to crawl. As the old saying goes, an expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until he eventually knows everything about nothing, and in my four years of undergraduate school and three years of graduate school, I've learned that the most highly educated individuals are often the absolute worst professors.

Yes, you want the professor teaching law school students to know the law, but isn't it more important that they also know how to teach rather than that they've become the world's premiere authority on the discretionary function exception to the Governmental Tort Liability Act? Having a faculty full of nurses with doctorate degrees does not necessarily mean you're better equipped to teach students what they need to know.

And for heaven's sake, this is baseball we're talking about. Until a bachelor's of baseball hits critical mass, I don't see how a bachelor's degree is relevant at all. Our baseball coach can and will be judged on whether his team wins and whether they do it the right way. I'm much more concerned about the impact Serrano will have on our young men and the hardware in the trophy case than the paper on the wall.