ALVARADO — Brandon Vinyard has dreamed of becoming a head baseball coach. And at age 29, he reached that dream a little earlier than most.
Vinyard was recently promoted to head baseball coach for Alvarado High School after four years as an assistant coach for the Indians.
Vinyard coached pitchers and catchers the past four seasons under former Head Coach Will Burnes, who is now an assistant principal at Alvarado Intermediate School.
When Burnes accepted the assistant principal job, Vinyard seemed like the right fit to step in and lead the Indians as the program’s next head coach.
“We made a real easy decision to promote Brandon,” Alvarado Athletic Director Jeff Dixon said. “Brandon is one of the most knowledgeable baseball guys I’ve been around. With his playing experience — he played at UTA and in high school he was at Euless Trinity, and that 6A level is a high level of ball — he has a wealth of knowledge. Add that to his work ethic and passion and we’re pretty impressed with him. I watch Brandon coach football and he really is passionate. He coaches with energy and the kids absolutely love him.”
After graduating from Euless Trinity High School in 2009, Vinyard continued his baseball career as an all-conference performer at Weatherford College and then concluded his playing days at the University of Texas at Arlington. Since then, he has spent four of his five years coaching in Alvarado, including as defensive backs coach for Indian football.
Vinyard said he is grateful to have the opportunity to head up the Alvarado baseball program.
“It means a lot,” Vinyard said. “Obviously, they’re trusting me with a lot of responsibilities. It’s a real honor to be able to be a head coach at a young age. ... It’s a real honor. I always dreamed of being a head coach; that’s why I got into coaching.”
Alvarado baseball has seen its fair share of success the past decade-plus. Following 10 years under A.J. Hall, Burnes took over as head coach after the 2015 season when Hall was named head coach at Cedar Hill. The Indians have been a perennial playoff participant for the most part. Entering 2020, Alvarado had made the playoffs two out of the previous three seasons, including an appearance in the regional quarterfinals in 2017.
Dixon said continuing that success and having the chance for some continuity by promoting an assistant coach was the right move.
“There were other people that showed interest and we visited with them, but at the end of the day Brandon stood out because of his knowledge of the game and just the work that he has done for us to this point,” Dixon said. “The program is in good shape and it’s because of what Coach Burnes and Coach Vinyard have been able to establish. There was no need to bring in somebody else. We felt like Brandon would continue the direction we’ve been headed the last couple years.
“Our district loves to promote from within. Part of our job as leaders in the district is we don’t just train students and athletes, we train teachers and coaches. So when we have the opportunity to promote from within, it makes us better.”
Vinyard said his goal as the Indians’ new head coach is to help all of his players become the best versions of themselves.
“I want to try to get the best out of every kid’s God-given ability and to maximize their talents to help us win,” he said. “We just want to get the best out of each and every kid we have. We have hard-nosed, blue-collared type of kids. That’s what we have in Alvarado. And that’s what we’re going to build our program on is those kids and their ability to overcome adversity.”
As far as what goals or aspirations Vinyard has for Indian baseball under his direction, he simply opts to keep things simple.
“We’re going to take it one day at a time,” Vinyard said. “That’s going to be our focus. We don’t want to look too far ahead into the future; just work here and now. We just want to get the best out of our kids and focus one day at a time, one game at a time and one pitch at a time.”