It seems like forever ago since Ken Jacome was the head coach of El Paso Community College baseball team. During his six seasons with the Tejanos, Jacome guided his teams to three Western Junior College Athletic Conference championships (2001, 2002 and 2004) and a NJCAA Region V Championship in 2002. His 207-122-2 record over his time earned him four WJCAC Coach of the Year honors. The University of New Mexico saw how successful Jacome was at EPCC and they lured him to Albuquerque after the 2004 season. He has been there ever since. Sadly, the Tejanos have never achieved the same success since Jacome, and the baseball program has endured more than a decade of futility.
EPCC has suffered through nine straight losing seasons, but the Tejanos’ record since 2013 has been alarming.
The Tejanos have won just 22 games over the last two seasons and according to the EPCC official website, the team does not have a head coach. Caesar Romero is listed as the Tejanos’ assistant coach, but the school has not announced an official replacement for Gabe Saucedo. The former Jacome assistant took over as head coach in 2015, but he was relieved of his duties during the 2016 season. Romero was named interim coach but the team won just six times in 36 games during that span. It is obvious that the Tejanos need someone to revive their once proud program. What EPCC might not realize is the perfect person for the job lives here in El Paso.
Butch Henry does not have a college education. However, he does have a PhD in baseball. The former Eastwood star has spent 30 years in professional baseball as a player, coach and manager. He broke into the Major Leagues in 1992 as a pitcher with the Houston Astros and he spent seven years as a pitcher with the Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. He was a teammate with Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez and Ken Griffey. Even after his playing career came to an end because of injuries, Henry stayed in the game as a Minor League pitching coach in the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees systems. He also managed the El Paso Diablos for five seasons and guided them to the playoffs in 2007 and was named American Association Manager of the Year that same season.
Henry is the perfect individual to resurrect the EPCC Tejanos baseball program. He brings instant credibility with his successful pro baseball career, which would help him attract top college talent to the Sun City. He has also lived in El Paso for his entire life and has many strong connections with local businesses. Henry knows how to develop young talent and he would be a great ambassador for the Tejanos baseball program. EPCC President William Serrata has an opportunity to hit a grand slam home run with the head coaching hire and Butch Henry should be his choice.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” weekday afternoons 4-7 p.m. on 600 ESPN El Paso. Over the last 17 years, he has also worked for UTEP and NMSU as a play-by-play broadcaster, for UTEP telecasts on Time Warner Cable and for KDBC-TV and KTSM-TV as a sports anchor/reporter. You can contact Steve by emailing him at email@example.com.