AZTEC — The Aztec Tigers have hired their seventh head baseball coach in the last decade.
Brett Alexander was promoted from assistant coach and will lead Aztec's varsity program in the upcoming 2014 season. Alexander replaced Rick Quevedo, who was the head coach for three seasons.
Aztec improved from an 8-14 season in 2012 to 16-10 in 2013. The team also reached the state tournament last year.
"I feel honored. I feel like I have helped set a foundation over there over the last three years, and, hopefully, we can build on it," said Alexander, who served as Aztec's pitching and catching coach with Quevedo. "We have taken a step in the right direction with a good group we have had the last three years, and I am looking forward to putting my stamp on the program."
Alexander, 29, is the seventh head coach for Aztec since Kirk Carpenter's wrapped up coaching in 2004. Alexander, a 2002 Aztec High grad, played for Carpenter in high school.
In his first two years out of high school, Alexander served as a junior varsity assistant in Carpenter's program while he attended San Juan College.
"It is rewarding knowing that I was born and raised in Aztec and graduated from there and that I have been able to give back to the program a couple of times," Alexander said. "To go back home and be able to get a job that I feel is a prestigious job is rewarding. There are a lot of good athletes in Aztec, and I think it is just as good of a 4A job as any other school."
Alexander also served as a varsity assistant for the Aztec football team for several years, including during the 2011 state championship season. He is also assisting the Navajo Prep football team this season.
Carpenter, Aztec's superintendant, said Alexander has the experience and ability to lead the team in the right direction.
"I know Brett and he went through our program. I am excited for him," Carpenter said. "The important thing when you are trying to build is to have consistency. Unfortunately, that has been missing in our program. We have had good guys in that position, but we just haven't had consistency."
Alexander coached the 4-Corners Connie Mack Team, which is operated by Piedra Vista head coach Mike McGaha. McGaha said Alexander has the tools to be successful.
"The biggest thing that turned me on to Brett as a coach is he is enthusiastic about the game and humbly is trying to learn as much as he can," McGaha said. "He has put in the time for no pay and devotes himself to the kids."
Alexander thanked McGaha and Farmington High head coach Sean Trotter for their mentorship through the years. They, like Alexander, were catchers when they played the game. Being a former catcher has helped shape Alexander's coaching philosophy.
"We are definitely going to be a lot better defensively. Offensively, when the bats are struggling, you can always hang your hat on defense and pitching," Alexander said. "I want to be in a lot of 4-3 games and come out on top. We are going to be disciplined at the plate and aggressive on the bases while playing fundamental baseball."
Alexander also credited the Aztec administration and community for believing in him, along with his family and friends.
"We are going to have success. It will take some time and support from the community, the school, the athletes and their parents to get this team back and turned around," Alexander said. "In year one, we are not going to be where I want us to be. It is a process, but I am willing to put in the time if they are willing to put the time into me as their coach."John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.