While Agustin Heredia is on leave as the boys' basketball coach, Estancia High has turned to a hospital worker to lead the team.
After the Eagles suited up just eight players last season, the new coach might be the best guy to find more able bodies to come out and play.
Boys' athletic director Tim Parsel said Carlos Beltran is taking over the Eagles as the interim coach while Heredia is on a one-year leave of absence for personal reasons. Beltran was Heredia's lone assistant, a position he held during much of Heredia's five seasons at Estancia.
"It makes for a much smoother transition," Parsel said of hiring someone with ties to the program, compared to an outsider. "He's an assistant girls' tennis coach right now, so he'll get basketball workouts after tennis.
"He has his work cut out for him."
The head job is Beltran's first on the varsity level.
To boost the Eagles' roster size from last season, Parsel said Beltran plans to get athletes from the football program. Last season, when Beltran was in charge of defense, Estancia only had one player, Ben Beck, who also competed on the varsity level in football.
The Eagles still enjoyed success despite the lack of numbers. They finished second in the Orange Coast League for the fifth straight season. Estancia (17-12, 7-3 in league) advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3A playoffs, marking the second time the program won a first-round game under Heredia.
Parsel said Beltran, who is also the boys' tennis coach at Estancia, works at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. Beltran used to be a junior varsity boys' coach at Edison.
Before Parsel offered the job to Beltran, he said he talked with Xavier Castellano, the girls' basketball coach, about the boys' opening.
"He's always talked about becoming the boys' basketball coach, but he said he couldn't do it because he would be spreading himself too thin," said Parsel, adding that Castellano, on top of guiding the girls' team, is raising a toddler, preparing for an upcoming wedding and working on a teaching credential.
Parsel said Beltran is also pursuing a teaching credential in hopes of becoming a teacher.