Having been away from the coaching ranks for nearly 18 months, Alan Eberhart had a hankering to return to the field.
Eberhart most recently coached the Glendale High football team for three seasons after previously coaching the Crescenta Valley High football team for parts of 14 seasons. In between, he’s also coached baseball, softball and basketball.
Eberhart will add another title to his resume as he was named the new baseball coach at Glendale on Tuesday. He succeeds co-coaches John Tuttle and Chris Funaro, who ran the team this past season. Tuttle is about to begin his second season as Glendale’s head varsity football coach, a position he took over after Eberhart vacated the position.
“I wasn’t looking for something right away, but some different things popped up,” said Eberhart, a 1975 Glendale High graduate who coached the school’s football team from 2009-11. “The school administration asked me about possibly helping out the baseball team and then the job opened up.
“I miss coaching. I enjoyed the time off [from coaching], but I don’t hunt, fish or play golf. I missed the process of being able to plan and be around the players because it’s a good feeling to have. I originally thought something might pop up with coaching junior varsity baseball or even freshman football.”
Eberhart, a full-time history teacher at Glendale High, will take over a team that finished 3-19, 2-12 in the Pacific League for seventh place in the eight-team league. He entertained the idea of coaching baseball the last several years, but said the timing wasn’t right.
As a football coach, Eberthart went 89-58-1 at Crescenta Valley and 4-26 at Glendale for a combined 93-84-1 record. He coached Glendale’s junior varsity baseball team in 1982 and had three stints as Crescenta Valley’s junior varsity baseball coach. He also coached Crescenta Valley’s varsity softball team for three seasons and had two stints as Crescenta Valley’s varsity girls’ basketball coach.
Glendale Athletic Director Pat Lancaster, who declined to comment on why Tuttle and Funaro were not retained as baseball coaches, said Eberhart was the ideal replacement.
“He’s the kind of person who was born to coach,” Lancaster said. “After a year or so off from coaching, the fire was still burning inside him to get back into coaching.
“He’s a multi-talented coach who can coach any sport. We are excited to have him back on board.”
Tuttle said he decided after the season to not return so he could focus solely on his football-related responsibilities.
“I talked to [principal Monica Makiewicz] after the season and told her I wanted to deal with coaching football,” Tuttle said. “It was fun working with the guys, but it was hard to juggle both coaching jobs.
“I need to be able to work more with the football program. I think Alan will do a great job coaching the baseball team.”
Funaro declined to comment on not returning to the dugout.
Eberhart was offered the baseball position about two weeks ago. He said he needed time to mull over several aspects pertaining to the job, including the state of the program and facility and taking into consideration about if the timing would be right to jump back into coaching.
“I just told myself to make sure about everything,” said Eberhart, who played second base at Glendale. “Things started to fall into place while thinking about it more.
“I got more excited thinking about it. We have 10 returning players, so the talent is here. The administration was perfect and I appreciated that. The field is beautiful now [after undergoing some renovations]. It was something I couldn’t refuse.”
Eberhart said coaching baseball and football are vastly different.
“Football is the sport that seems to draw the biggest crowds and it’s always at the beginning of the [school] year,” Eberhart said. “With baseball, you have more time to get prepared for different things.
“We want to be competitive in baseball and we want to get back to the playoffs.”
Glendale last appeared in the playoffs in 2003, when it suffered a 16-5 loss to host Cajon in a CIF Southern Section Division I wild-card contest. Prior to that, the Nitros hadn’t made a trip to the postseason since 1997.