Alonzo Steps Down as Head Coach to Focus on Family, Teachingby Adam Ledyard
SOCCER (M): MARSHALL, Texas (11/15/12) – Since the beginning of the men’s soccer program, Jose Alonzo has been the face of East Texas Baptist University after starting the program in 1994. After 19 years at the helm as the head men’s soccer coach, Alonzo has decided to resign and focus more on his family and teaching at East Texas Baptist.
"I have such great memories from the past 19 years – from starting the program from scratch, winning back-to-back NCCAA national championships, forging life-time friendships with players, parents and coaches, thousands of road trips and recruiting trips, and so on,” says Alonzo. "One of the greatest perks of my coaching career has been seeing so many of my players go on to be strong Christians and family men that have succeeded in their chosen fields.”
Alonzo steps aside from the program he built and will be handing over the keys to the program to a familiar member of the ETBU soccer family in women’s soccer coach Paul Grant. Grant will now be in charge of both programs as the head men’s and women’s coach.
"It is such an honor to be able to step in and take over a program that Jose did so well with,” says Grant. "I am humbled to be chosen to replace Jose as he is a friend and to continue to build on what he started 19 years ago.”
Alonzo leaves a legacy that will be hard to follow. He is the longest tenured coach for consecutive years coaching at ETBU at 19 years. Former baseball coach Jim Kneipp coached 18 years while Jim Webb was the men’s basketball coach for 16 years. Current men’s basketball coach Bert West has been at ETBU for 18 years but has been the head coach two different times. Alonzo earned a national coach of the year award, two regional coach of the year awards, a conference coach of the year award, and a NAIA sectional coach of the year award in his time. He has also doubled up as a professor of Spanish in this time at ETBU.
The 1999 NCCAA National Coach of the Year lead his program to two NCCAA (National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association) national championships, two Heart of Texas Conference championships, two ASC (American Southwest Conference) East titles, and one Big State Conference championship. The biggest of his accomplishments came in 1998 and 1999 as ETBU won two straight national Christian championships in Florida. ETBU is just one of four programs in the NCCAA that won back-to-back championships. ETBU claimed their first title in 1998 with a 3-1 win over NAIA all-time wins program Judson University and then defeated Mount Vernon Nazarene, 4-1, in 1999 to complete the sweep of national championships. In 2000, ETBU finished in fourth place in the tournament falling to Mount Vernon Nazarene, 2-1.
Only being a part of the NCCAA for three years, Alonzo’s players had an impact. In 1998, after winning the national championship, they were also awarded the NCCAA Team Sportsmanship Award for their play. Six players were named NCCAA All-Americans gaining 10 all-American awards. Bryce Morrow and Justin Cooley were on the first team and Buddy Ogletree was twice named to the first team. Cody Carter, Stuart Morrow, and Trey Carlile all were on the second team or honorable mention team.
Starting out in the NAIA, Alonzo produced one of the top programs in the NAIA right away. In just the second year of the program (1995), Bryce Morrow led the NAIA in goals per game with 33 goals. The goalie, James Parker, finished fourth in the NAIA in goals against average at 0.65. In a four year time span from 1995-98, ETBU had three players named NAIA All-American gaining five all-American awards. Bryce Morrow was a NAIA second-team selection in 1998 and then Angel Rivillo was on the third team in 1997. Ogletree (1998) and Morrow (1995, 1997) were also on the honorable mention teams in that time.
From 1995 through 2000, the program went 109-25-1 winning five conference championships and being nationally ranked. ETBU won the 1995 Big State Conference championship and then claimed back-to-back conference championships in the Heart of Texas North Zone in 1996 and 1997. In 1999 and 2000, they took the ASC East division titles going 14-3 in those two years. The 1998 season was the finest for the program boasting a 23-1-1 record, finishing with a no. 4 final ranking in the NAIA, and taking the first of two NCCAA national championships. Alonzo was voted the Big State "Coach of the Year” in 1995 and Bryce Morrow the MVP. Seven players were also named all-Conference in that first season in the Big State. In the Heart of Texas conference, six players also were named all-Conference an Angel Rivillo earned the newcomer and MVP awards in back-to-back years in 1996 and 1997.
Seven players were then named NCCAA All-Tournament in three years in John Griffin, Pedro Millian, Ogletree, Stuart Marrow, Jared Wilbanks, Stephen Sherman, and Ryan Dempsey, who is the brother of current U.S.A national team member Clint Dempsey. Two players earned the tournament MVP in Bryce Morrow (1998) and Cooley (1999). Ogletree also gained the "Outstanding Offensive Player” in the tournament in 1999.
Transitioning to NCAA Division III, Alonzo’s players have gained numerous ASC awards in the last 12 years. His players have been awarded an All-ASC award 54 times in that span with two players of the year awards. Aaron Erickson was named the 2005 ASC Offensive Player of the Year and in 2002 Edgar Martinez earned the ASC East Defensive Player of the Year award. This year, Peter Fitzsimmons earned the program’s first ASC Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year award, too. He has won 68 ASC matches in that time span and 12 players were on an All-ASC first team. His teams in 1999 and 2000 were crowned the ASC East champions. They posted a 6-2 record in 1999 and then were 8-1 in 2000.
Alonzo has also had two players voted into the ETBU Athletics Hall of Fame in Bryce Morrow and Ogletree. Morrow was the first player voted into the hall in 2008 followed by Ogletree’s induction in 2012.