BASEBALL: New Brack coach followed dream, waited turn

Eagles assistant Adams promoted to replace Garza

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Bryan Adams’ 10-year quest for a head coaching job was rewarded recently with his promotion to the top of the ladder at Brackenridge.

A decade ago, Adams made the career leap from sportswriter and copy editor to teaching and coaching. He started out as a volunteer assistant at Boerne. Three years later, Adams joined the Brackenridge staff and completed his apprenticeship under three coaches before opportunity knocked.

“When Coach (Mike) Garza was up for the job Iast year, I applied for it,” Adams said. “They told me that Coach Garza had more head coaching experience. I had no hard feelings. I wanted to stay on as an assistant.”

Garza, who had coached previously at Pearsall and La Joya, coached the Eagles during the 2014 season. When he departed after the season, Adams’ patience and persistence was served.

“They interviewed a lot of people for (the job), but I knew I’d still be an assistant if I didn’t get hired,” Adams said. “Having been at Brack for seven years, I won’t be starting from scratch. I’ve watched people come and go. It’s really great to get this chance.”

Before Garza, Adams was an assistant under Ruben Lozano and Lupe Vasquez Jr.

“He grew up as a baseball guy and has done a lot of work,” Brackenridge athletic coordinator and football coach Willie Hall said. “He worked with the three coaches ahead of him. He’s grown as a coach. I think this is going to be a great opportunity for him at this time”

Adams played baseball at MacArthur High School and made the team at Texas Tech as a non-scholarship player. The pitcher eventually transferred to a junior college, but his playing career ended due to a rotator cuff injury. Although he finished at Tech, he graduated as a journalism major.

He worked at the Lubbock Avalanche Journal and Kerrville Daily Times, where he served as sports editor. Adams’ newspaper stint ended at the Express-News, where he was both a writer and copy editor. He teaches British literature and newspaper journalism at Brackenridge.

Adams, who also has coached in the McAllister Park Little League program, was volunteer an assistant to Boerne coach Chuck Foster, whose team had won the Class 4A state championship the previous season. A chance meeting with Hall led to the assistant job at Brackenridge.

“It’s been a long time comng,” Adams said. “When made the decision 10 years ago to be a coach, I didn’t have a coaching background. In a way, I was starting out with my career. I’m glad Brackenridge gave me the opportunity.”

The Eagles (14-10) qualified for the bi-district playoffs last year after finishing second in District 28-4A with a 10-2 record. The Eagles’ only district losses were to first-place Brennan. Clemens swept them in a best-of-three bi-district series.

“It should minimize changes structure-wise,” Hall said. “The system will be pretty much the same as last year. That team was pretty competitive. They finished second in the district and they played well.”

Brackenridge hasn’t advanced in the playoffs since 1994, when the Eagles reached the regional semifinals. They have qualified for the playoffs eight of the last nine seasons.

“We’ve had a lot of success, but I want to take us to the next level,” Adams said, “past the first round. In 2008, we went 12-0 in district. That year, only three teams made the playoffs, so we got a first-round bye, but then we lost to Vista Ridge.”

The Eagles had some significant graduation losses, but return a good share of talent.

The losses include Brack’s entire starting outfield and one of its top pitchers, Mario Roldan (who also started in left field). Roldan, center fielder Jongregory Gonzales, catcher Tristen Cortinas and first baseman Matt de los Santos all had batting averages of .286 or higher. Their absence will leave some holes in the offense.

“We’ll have a whole reclamation project to do in the outfield,” Adams said, “but we’ll be pretty deep in pitching.”

Ace pitcher Robert Rangel will return for his senior year. Rangel was a first-team all-district pick with an 8-3 record and 3.01 ERA. Standout junior shortstop Brayan Guerrero, who batted .414, also should help out on the mound. Third baseman Johan Parra and second baseman Austin Lozano also are returning starters.

Senior twins Jeremiah and Robert Gonzalez, senior Dylan Cardenas and sophomore Jonathan Lucas also should be key contributors.

“I’m encouraged by their talent and potential,” Adams said. “Hopefully, this will be their year to shine. They’ve been working two years for the opportunity. I know they have it in them.”

Adams is anxious to implement the training techniques he learned from former Texas Ranger Tom House, who’s heralded as a pitching guru. Offensively, he plans to focus on intelligent but aggressive plate appearances and small ball, including stealing bases when the odds favor it.

“We’ve hardly had any batting practice with live pitching the last six years,” Adams said. “I think it makes it more competitive when it’s Eagles versus Eagles. I want our pitchers to go out there and throw strikes against their teammates.”