MANITOU SPRINGS – Manitou Springs athletic director John McGee didn’t have to look far to find a new baseball coach to fill the void left by Rob Quarry, who retired at the conclusion of the 2014 season.
Thursday, McGee offered the position to longtime assistant Cory Archuleta, who accepted and will take the reins in 2015.
Archuleta first joined Quarry’s staff in 2006 after spending time as the head coach at Wasson. Prior to that, his coaching experience was primarily at the junior varsity level, mainly with Palmer and Sand Creek.
His vast baseball background dates back to his playing days at Lamar Community College. While there, he played for Brian Hochevar – the father of Kansas City Royals pitcher and Fowler High graduate Luke Hochevar.
“I think (with me in charge) practices will be more efficient and we’ll spend more time on fundamentals,” Archuleta said. “When Rob was here and he and I were here together for those eight or nine years, we had kids who played competitive baseball going up through the ranks. We don’t have that anymore.”
Although he may not have the same number of kids playing on traveling competitive teams, Archuleta has maintained consistency with the baseball program as a whole in his time at Manitou. His kids continue to play together each summer through a summer program that he has set up.
In the past, Archuleta has taken his team on the road to high profile tournaments in Las Vegas, Nev. but this year has opted for a wood-bat tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.
He hopes that the summer competition combined with the return of the bulk of his starters will give the Mustangs an additional boost for the 2015 season. He expects the overall feel of the team to remain consistent, but cites some differences in how Manitou will approach the game with him in charge.
“I’ll play a lot of small ball and we’ll be a lot more aggressive than we have been,” he said. “We’re going to try and do everything in our power to make kids go up (to bat) with a plan of attack. I’m more of an aggressive guy, so I’m sure I’ll take some heat for being too aggressive at times.”
Archuleta is only the third coach for the program since 2001. Rick Hegg took to the team to a top-eight finish that year and coached for two more seasons before handing the team over to Quarry.