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Millennium hires new baseball coach

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Jerod Burleson takes over veteran Tigers

Millennium’s baseball program will be under new leadership for the 2018 season.

The Tigers hired Jerod Burleson as the team’s new head coach after Ryan Bethel stepped down to pursue an administration position opportunity.

Burleson spent the last five years as a varsity assistant coach at Farmington High School in Farmington, N.M. The Millennium job will be his first experience as a head coach.

I’m pretty excited about it,” Burleson said. “I have family out here and I’ve been looking for a while. I saw some openings in the Agua Fria District and applied for it and was fortunate enough to get an interview. I kind of clicked with the administration and it worked out.”

Burleson is taking over a veteran Tigers team with playoff experience under its belt. Millennium went 18-11 last season and won the 6A Southwest Region, but lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Chandler.

Burleson said he’s been impressed with his initial interactions with the team.

As a new head coach coming in, I don’t think you’re going to be upset when you’re returning seven starters,” Burleson said. “When you walk into a program and have guys with varsity experience, I think you’re set up pretty well.”

Burleson said the players, as well as the previous coaches, have been receptive and helpful through the transition. One of Burleson’s first tasks on the job was to meet with Bethel to pick his brain, he said.

It was important to meet up with him and get plugged in to his resources,” Burleson said. “All of the coaches I’ve come into contact with have bragged about how good of a coach he was with the boys. To me, that’s somebody I need to get in contact with. It was important to catch up with Coach Bethel and kind of have him show me the ropes.”

Because the returners are a mature group and at a good place with their on-field skills, Burleson has been able to spend a lot of time with younger players, helping the first-year coach connect the bridges of the entire program.

When you have an older crew coming back with a lot of experience, you’re able to spend more time with the younger kids, kind of coach up that younger class,” Burleson said. “I think one of the biggest things is just how receptive [the returners] have been to a new coach. [The character] from the older kids has been nice.”

Burleson got his first extended taste of the varsity team in a tournament in Flagstaff from June 28 through the weekend.

I’ve been here for a couple of weeks and I’ve got to see a few of the kids,” Burleson said. “Physically, these kids can play. They’re players. It’s been good.”

 

Shane McOwen can be reached at smcowen@westvalleyview.com or on Twitter @ShaneMcOwen.

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