Craig Sherwood takes over helm of Burroughs High baseball program

Craig Sherwood has been a baseball coaching staple in the city for four decades.

For the past three years, Sherwood has served as an assistant under Bob Hart at Burbank High. Last season, the Bulldogs captured a share of the Pacific League championship for the first time on 22 years.

Next season, instead of standing next to Hart in the Burbank dugout, Sherwood will be facing him from across the field as a rival.

Sherwood, a Burroughs graduate and former assistant coach, was hired to head the Indians on Tuesday, as he becomes the program's third coach in less than two years.

"I really couldn't lose," said Sherwood, 55. "If I applied for the Burroughs job and didn't get it I knew I could always go back to Burbank with Bob.

"But this is a good opportunity for me and I get to come home. …I'm really excited about being able to take over at the school that I graduated from and a baseball program I've been around for 40 years."

Sherwood, who graduated in 1976, has decades of coaching experience, which started in the Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Department's Hap Minor baseball program when he was still a student at Burroughs.

"I actually coached Bob Hart and he played for me in the old park and rec days," Sherwood said with a chuckle.

Hart said the Burroughs job should be a perfect fit for Sherwood.

"The intangible is all of his baseball knowledge and all the years experience he's had coaching," Hart said. "He also has great baseball savvy and he's a great practice coach. And really his strength is knowing how to win, because he's come from winning programs."

Along with serving as an assistant at Burbank, Sherwood was also an assistant at Burroughs for two stints totaling seven years, the last coming from 1996-2000 under Jose Valle. He was on the staff when the Indians captured a Foothill League title in 1997, its first in 38 years.

"Craig had a lot to do with the success we enjoyed in the program in the '90s," said Valle, who is now co-athletic director at Burroughs. "He just has a great baseball mind and the kids really buy into what he's teaching.

"The other great thing about him is that we know he's going to be here for a long time. He's not a guy who is looking to coach beyond high school. This is the job he wanted and we're happy to have him."

In addition to coaching at the two local public schools, Sherwood was also the head coach at Bellarmine-Jefferson from 1994-95, taking over a Guards program that won just five games the previous year and totaling 25 victories in his two seasons at the helm.

Sherwood also gained valuable experience as an assistant at Encino Crespi for 18 years, working with ultra-successful coach Scott Muckey.

"There is no doubt that coach Muckey is the best high school coach in the country; it's not even close," Sherwood said. "To be able to work with him and learn from him was a tremendous experience for me. And the side to that is that I was able to work with some of the best athletes coming out of the Valley in baseball over the last two decades."

Sherwood takes over at Burroughs for Kiel Holmes, who left the position after the 2013 season to devote more time to his family. In his two seasons at the helm, the Indians went 29-26 and qualified for the postseason both years.

Last season, Burroughs went 17-12 and tied for third place in league (10-4) with Arcadia. The Indians stayed in the hunt for a league championship until the final two games of the league campaign.

Holmes, a Burroughs graduate and former Indians player, was hired in November of 2011 and took over a program that had been in flux since the firing of former coach Eddie Alvarez on Oct. 31, 2011. Alvarez, who spent less than five months as the Indians' coach after being hired in June of that year, was dismissed because of "inconsistent leadership," according to then-principal Emilio Urioste.

Alvarez was hired following a well-publicized illegal drinking incident that occurred during the 2011 season involving the Indians players. The school fired JR Schwer, then the head coach, and three assistants and canceled the remainder of the season in April of that year after discovering an assistant coach allegedly served players beer during a tournament trip to Arizona.

"I'm actually stepping into a program that isn't broken and is on the right track," Sherwood said. "Kiel did a really good job at bringing the program back from some adversity and he was able to turn things around. He definitely put things in the right direction and I'm hoping that I will keep it going as well.". "Kiel did a really good job at bringing the program back from some adversity and he was able to turn things around. He definitely put things in the right direction and I'm hoping that I will keep it going as well."

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