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Nitros baseball looking for new coach

Baseball: Glendale seeking teacher-coach in wake of Jesus Osuna's resignation.

August 01, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

Even after a move to the Santa Clarita Valley made the job much more difficult to pull off, Jesus Osuna said he wasn't ready to throw in the towel as Glendale High baseball coach.

"I didn't want to be another statistic," Osuna said in reference to the coaches who served one- or two-year stints preceding him. "The good thing is, I got an opportunity to coach each player from when they were freshmen. I wanted to be there for their senior year, so I made an attempt to come back for [2012] and it was just as hard or even harder."

Osuna manned his post for the duration of the 2012 campaign, but at its conclusion, made the decision to resign rather than struggle to put in the time and energy needed to effectively lead the program.

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"I ran into a little health scare, I was getting some anxiety attacks in February right before the season and that was kind of like a sign that I had to take a little bit of stress off my life," said Osuna, 34, who works in sales in Burbank. "Baseball consumes you, especially as passionate as I am for baseball and for Glendale. I made up my mind in February that this was probably going to be my last year.

"It was definitely a difficult decision, but I felt like if this program is going to be moving in the right direction, they needed somebody that can dedicate as much time as I was putting into it and more and I couldn't do that any more."

Osuna said he first announced his resignation publicly at the team's postseason banquet on June 2 and formally filed his resignation shortly after.

"He came in and said basically that with him living all the way in Santa Clarita it became more challenging for him to be as committed as he wanted to," Glendale assistant principal Rene Valdes said. "He couldn't commit the time and energy needed to make it a successful program."

A search is currently underway for Osuna's replacement and Valdes said two candidates have already been interviewed.

"Our goal is to get someone on staff who can be a coach and a teacher," Valdes said. "If we can't find that, then we're going to find the best walk-on that we possibly can."

Osuna, who was an assistant coach for the Nitros for four seasons before taking over for Jon Keefer in August of 2009, coached the Nitros to a record of 14-39 with a 9-33 Pacific League mark over three seasons.

Glendale finished 5-13 and 3-11 in league for sixth place for the second year in a row last season, but Valdes said Osuna made progress by improving the attitudes of players and beefing up the program, evidenced by the 15 juniors expected to return to the team in 2013.

"He did a really good job," Valdes said. "I remember those days [before Osuna] were hard to watch. We were being mercied basically 50% of the time by the powerhouses in the league. Especially this last year, I really saw a difference. He just connected real well with the kids, kids really responded to him. He was a good teacher and he made these kids believe and they were real competitive this year."

Osuna said he would still like to remain involved in coaching the Nitros in some capacity going forward.

"I'm not completely walking away from it," Osuna said. "Depending on who they hire, I would like to come back as an assistant coach. I just can't completely walk away."

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