The search for a new Lady Warriors softball coach came to an end late in May. Pepe Alvarado was announced as the future leader heading into the 2020 season.
Alvarado has been coaching youth baseball and softball in Hatch Valley since the early 90’s with a brief stint coaching basketball in El Paso, Texas. Hatch is where he and his wife, Julie, raised their two kids Jessica, whom played volleyball, and Austin, a defensive end in football.
Athletic Director Alex Johnson has been looking for a new coach ever since former coach Lars Baker informed the school that he would not be returning earlier this spring.
“Quite honestly Pepe fell into our laps,” he said. “He was a licensed K-12 P.E. educator and I spoke with Dave Hicks (Warriors quarterback Payson’s father). He informed me that you don’t really need to do much interviewing here that is how good Alvarado’s reputation was. When we met for lunch in Hatch I instantly knew he was the guy. He will bring passion, excitement and upstanding character to the softball program.”
Prior to coaching Alvarado had a unique baseball career at both the high school and professional level. Playing at Highlands in Albuquerque from 1979-84, Pepe made All Conference and moved into the pro game. Beginning in Mexico City with the Tigers, he returned to the states after the well documented 8.0 seismic level earthquake in 1985 resulted in massive destruction and a devaluing of the Peso.
For the next 5 to 6 years he traveled and had stints with the Ft. Lauderdale Dolphins and a brief run with the Cincinnati Reds. With the stress of being on the road and away from his family, he decided to hang it up and returned home to coach and teach. Recently Alvarado has also been volunteering his extra time coaching the JV and C teams at Deming high.
“I was traveling but fortunately I have a RV when I’m on the road,” he said. “I love coaching. But I wanted a challenge in a bit of a higher level and when the Socorro job came open I jumped on it. My family base will remain in Hatch but I will be able to stay in Socorro and work hard to improve the group.”
With a 3-23 record in 2019 Alvarado will need to bring a fresh culture to help turn the program around.
“The fans can’t always be satisfied,” he said. “But sometimes the kids have to be defeated in order to learn. I look at improvement as one step at a time. Teaching the players the right way while also making sure they have fun. Staying positive often leads to success.”
Johnson is excited and confident to have the new coach join the SHS family but also made clear his expectations for the coming season.
“My job as Athletic Director is to want three things,” he said. “First and foremost, are our kids safe? Second, are our kids having fun? Third, are our programs growing positively? I believe Pepe will go above and beyond in all three areas and the byproduct will be on and off the field success for him, the softball program and athletics as a whole.”