Lompoc High wanted its next head baseball coach to be someone who understood the Braves baseball community and culture to succeed on the diamond — plus bring the baseball program back to prominence and dominance.
Brian Aguailar has been appointed to be that guy — as the former Braves baseball player and 2002 LHS graduate has been named the newest varsity baseball coach, athletic director Don Cross confirmed on Tuesday.
Aguailar, who wore the mask and protected home plate as a catcher for three varsity seasons at LHS, said he couldn’t wait to come back home — and get the opportunity to breathe new life into Braves baseball.
“I’m excited to come back where I grew up and go somewhere where I can give back,” Aguailar said.
He’s also no stranger to both football coach Andrew Jones and new boys basketball head coach Paul Terrones, as Aguailar attended LHS with both men.
Cross said that when LHS launched its search for the replacement for Jim Allen, who spent 16 seasons with the blue and white, Cross zeroed in on someone with ties to the Lompoc community.
“We didn’t go outside because the candidates who were already in-house were stronger, including Brian,” Cross said. “Having him as a former Brave is a plus because he knows what to expect and what the community expects.”
Agualiar will take over a team that managed to sneak into the playoffs by winning four of its last five games and finished 16-16 overall. The Braves, however, haven’t won past the 20-victory threshold since the 2010-11 season, when Allen led the team to a 22-7 mark.
Agualiar says he’s aiming to change the standards at Dan Bordary Field.
“It matters where your standard lies, and the standard isn’t where it needs to be in my opinion,” Agualiar said. “There needs to be more passion and energy in the community for baseball.”
He’s hoping his past success with helping build two San Jose area powerhouses in Leigh and Los Gatos can propel him to a fast start with the Braves. As an assistant with LGHS, the Wildcats were a consistent 20-win team and rated high in the CIF Central Coast section rankings. The same was the case for the Leigh Longhorn teams, which became a perennial playoff contender during the time Aguailar was an assistant.
And what kind of program will Braves baseball fans see from a Brian Aguailar coached team?
“We’re going to be a team that has passion, energy and plays the right way,” Aguailar said.