2017 Best Coach Rod Barajas

El Paso Chihuahuas vs the Fresno Grizzlies at Southwest University Park, Sunday, May 8, 2016, in El Paso, Texas. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre/El Paso Chihuahuas

Rod Barajas - El Paso Chihuahuas

A former El Paso Diablos player, Rod Barajas returned to the Sun City as a manager in 2016 and guided the El Paso Chihuahuas to the Pacific Coast League championship in his first season.

“It’s a huge honor. Anytime you’re recognized by the fans it’s something really special,” Barajas said of his Best Coach title. “My goal here is not just to develop baseball players, but to develop strong young men.”

Barajas played double-A baseball for the Diablos in 1999 when they were affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The former big league catcher played with seven Major League teams in his 14-year professional career.

“Being that my last year was 2012, I felt like I understood the players a little better and the interaction between us seemed to go really smoothly,” he said.

Barajas led the Chihuahuas to the Pacific Southern division title. El Paso then knocked off Tacoma three games to one in the semifinals before downing Oklahoma City, again by three games to one, to win their first PCL title.

But Barajas gives the people of El Paso an assist.

“The fans of El Paso are the best in the league. They really give us the extra energy to go out and perform every single game.”

More info: facebook.com/epchihuahuas, Twitter: @epchihuahuas

Runner-up: Tim Floyd, UTEP Basketball – UTEPathletics.com