Loving baseball coach to begin farewell tour – Carlsbad Current-Argus
LOVING – Alfredo Chacon has touched many lives in the Loving baseball community.
He instilled compassion, commitment and long-lasting skills and memories as the Falcons’ head baseball coach.
But after 30 seasons with the Falcons, including 26 as the head coach, Chacon will say goodbye to the game he loves.
“I’ve always loved coaching, and I think that’ll be the first thing that I will miss,” Chacon said. “It will be a change and a big adjustment.”
The long journey
Born in Carlsbad and raised in Loving, Chacon is a 1980 Cavemen graduate and a 1984 graduate of Western New Mexico where he played in their now-defunct baseball program, but wanted a chance to continue his passion in his hometown.
Chacon coached the Falcons in 1987 and 1988, when Loving High school first opened its doors for freshmen and sophomores. After spending one year as an elementary school teacher in Carlsbad, Chacon returned to Loving as an assistant baseball coach under former head coach Steve Longchase in 1990, later becoming the head coach in 1994.
“I knew that baseball and softball in this area was big, and I wanted to be part of a community that loved the game,” Chacon said. “The philosophy of hard work and dedication and commitment was what I learned from the Cavemen.”
Loving has won six state baseball championships. The Falcons won titles in 1991 and 1993 under Longchase, but later won state titles in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 under Chacon.
Chacon’s philosophy is simple, but goes a long way.
Chacon, 55, values the mechanics of baseball, in all three phases.
“In pitching, you’re going to get more velocity if you have the right mechanics. In hitting, you’re going to get more power if you have the right mechanics. In catching and throwing, same thing. In fielding, you’re going to have more velocity and more accuracy,” Chacon said. “You go to the next level, all they have to do is just refine it. But if you can’t throw a ball right, that’s going to be a struggle for you. Most of the time, you should already have the basic fundamentals.”
Whether players join the high school team fresh off little league or have no previous playing experience, Chacon said they can and will progress over time as long as they recognize what must change.
“He really makes sure he involves everybody, makes sure he doesn’t exclude anybody out,” said junior second baseman Isaac Gonzalez, whose older brother Leo was part of the 2008 and 2009 teams. “If you’re doing something wrong, he will make sure it’s corrected and do it in a nice way. He only does what’s best for you, and he really gets involved with the team. He even runs around with us during conditioning at times.”
Hope for the future?
The Falcons have struggled since 2011, winning just 37 total games. Loving’s roughest season during that time was in 2015 when they went the season without a single win.
Chacon said much of that is tied to the increased interest in basketball the last few years.
“In the past, we would average 48-50 kids (coming out for baseball). It just seems to be declining in numbers,” Chacon said.
Loving started a positive trend after winning three games in 2016, and the Falcons believe they’ll increase their win total in 2017.
Chacon also offered his eventual successor this advice regarding the job.
“It’s a challenge. It’s nothing that’s going to be easy. You’re going to go through ups and downs, but we learn also as coaches,” Chacon said, adding it’s important the next coach continues teaching Loving’s players about being “baseball smart.”
After the fact
Chacon said he will enjoy spending more time with his wife of 32 years, Patricia, his three children (Freddie, Alyssa and Dawndri) and his three grandsons (Jayce, Matthias and James), something he often had to sacrifice while coaching.
“You’re going to be gone from your family (while coaching). Luckily, I’ve had that support,” Chacon said.
It’ll still be hard for Chacon to stay away from the diamond. He left the door open to still be active with baseball in some way.
“I have a lot of family here, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be making games, watching games,” Chacon said.
Current-Argus Sports Editor Matt Hollinshead may be reached at 575-628-5518, firstname.lastname@example.org and @MattH_717 on Twitter.