Golden: After helping Texas win a CWS title, Sinton's Adrian Alaniz is a coach on the rise
Adrian Alaniz is going places.
If he chooses to do so.
The Sinton baseball coach has a job for life if he wants it because, well, he’s Adrian Alaniz, a hometown hero whose star has been on the rise for awhile now.
With success comes opportunity and the Texas ex could be faced with some tough career decisions in the near future.
As in leaving his comfort zone for greener pastures.
In the two decades since we were introduced to the South Texas high school star, Alaniz has rarely failed to impress.
He's a winner. He led Sinton to a state title his junior year, graduated with a 48-1 record on the mound over four seasons, including 44 straight wins at one point. He was also an all-state quarterback who turned down football scholarship offers to play at Nebraska, Colorado and Baylor.
Twenty years after he led the Pirates to the UIL winners circle — which came the same year Augie Garrido earned his first College World Series title at Texas — Alaniz returned to the scene of his greatest individual feat to add another trophy to his case. Sinton lost in the state semifinals last season, but would not be denied this time. The Class 4A 9-0 title win over Argyle made Alaniz a three-time title holder — as a high school player, as a college player and as a high school coach.
So why not go for the quadruple and throw his hat in the ring as a college coach?
There are many reasons to support him taking that next rung. Alaniz, 38, has already established himself as one of the best high school coaches in the state — Sinton is 69-6 over the last two years — but his knowledge of the game and his growing reputation as an effective player’s coach are what make him an attractive candidate for a bigger high school or college interested in a young coaching mind.
He won 12 games for Texas in 2007 and Washington drafted him in the seventh round and awarded him with a $75,000 signing bonus. After not getting the call up, reality set in and the son of educators knew it was time to move on to the next step in his professional life. Alaniz always knew he was going to teach and coach, so there wasn't a whole lot of soul searching. The subsequent success doesn't surprise anyone who has been around him for even a small length of time.
“He understands the game,” said Longhorns pitching legend Greg Swindell, who mentored Alaniz while he was a volunteer assistant with the Horns in 2005. “He knows all kids are different. And he wants to help young men develop on and off the field.”
Besides the vast knowledge of the game, Alaniz knows what mental buttons to push when the stakes are the highest.
“We didn’t come here for a thing around the neck,” he told his players after the semifinal win over Celina. “We want some hardware to take home to South Texas.”
Alaniz's phone is going to ring this offseason because other athletic departments want a winner and are willing to make tempting offers. If it’s a bigger school district, his knowledge of football — he’s also been a quarterbacks coach at Sinton — is another plus on his résumé.
“I’ll never say no to a conversation if something like that would arise,” Alaniz said. “I understand with success, things like that may happen in this business.”
Texas baseball goes to the College World Series: Complete coverage of Longhorns in Omaha
While his team dogpiled on the UFCU Disch-Falk infield after the title win, a wave of nostalgia flowed through the seventh-year head coach. No dogpile would have ever happened by the college team at the home stadium. Any Longhorns dogpile would only come at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha after the final out of the championship game.
But this was different.
While the usual residents of Disch-Falk were off earning a College World Series bid on the East Coast, a Longhorns favorite son did some celebrating in the same stadium before thousands.
The offseason began with three days of intense TV viewing. His Longhorns navigated their way through some rough terrain en route to eliminating Greenville Super Regional host East Carolina. They advanced to a record 38th trip to Omaha and Alaniz, a redshirt freshman pitcher on the 2005 College World Series champion, was, in a word, pumped.
After right fielder Dylan Campbell saved Texas' season with a walk-off single in Game 2, he dropped some knowledge on Kirk Bohls and yours truly via Twitter.
“I’m telling you I’ve seen it happen way too many times,” Alaniz tweeted. “An unsung hero will come through in times like this … Campbell is that guy."
While the Horns were busy booking a ticket to Omaha, where they will open against Notre Dame on Friday, Alaniz was busy reading congratulatory texts from fellow Texas exes Nick Peoples, college roommate Clayton Stewart, Hunter Harris and Austin Wood, who famously through 169 pitches in a 25-inning regional win over Boston College in 2009. He also got a nice note from Swindell, arguably the greatest pitcher in UT history. Texas assistant coaches Sean Allen and Phillip Miller also reached out.
He’s a highly respected coach these days, but we all remember Alaniz as the redshirt freshman who tossed a no-hitter against Oklahoma in 2005. A fourth-inning walk prevented a perfect game, but he was happy to go down as the author of the program’s 18th no-no.
That performance placed him in an elite group of freshmen who threw no-hitters. Swindell did it over seven innings against Texas Wesleyan in 1984 and Richard Wortham did it over nine frames in a 1973 win over Texas Tech.
Anyone who was there remembers standing for the entire ninth inning, two frames after Peoples saved the no-hitter with a leaping grab in left field.
“It wasn’t just me that got it done,” Alaniz said. “With the help of my teammates, some luck and the Longhorn Nation by my side made it a moment that I’ll cherish forever.”
Alaniz’s effort was so big that he was recognized by the Texas Senate before the 79th Legislature, alongside his parents and Garrido.
The no-hitter was historic, but twirling seven innings of three-hit ball in the CWS championship series opening win over Florida as a freshman put him in another stratosphere.
He is already one of the most decorated figures in the state’s history. The Pirates will be a favorite to be back to the Disch in 2023 as Gatorade's Texas player of the year Blake Mitchell, a present-day version of Alaniz himself, will be back for his senior year before going to play for LSU.
The biggest question will be if Alaniz will be the coach. The smart money says he will be back. He has a great life in a comfortable environment with lovely wife Nicole and their two beautiful daughters.
“Ultimately it would have to be something that would have to fit me and my family,” he said. “But what I have here in Sinton is great and I’m blessed to be where I am.”
Alaniz is blessed and has been a blessing to his hometown along the way.