SKIDMORE – One of the driving forces behind the wildly successful run of the Beeville Lady Trojan softball teams in 2017 and 2018 is returning to Bee County to become a head coach for the first time.
Former Beeville assistant coach Tiffany Castillo will take over the Skidmore-Tynan Lady Cat softball program.
“I’m excited. I can’t wait for the season to start,” Castillo said about taking on the role as a head coach for the first time.
She coached the pitchers and catchers at Beeville, where she helped develop pitchers Saleen Flores and Aaliyah Ruiz and catcher Felixia Hinojosa, all of whom signed with NCAA Division I programs.
Her experience at Beeville is what brought her back to Bee County, she said.
“I liked the area,” she said. “I figured that a small school would be a pretty good start for me.”
A former standout at Port Lavaca Calhoun and Sam Houston State, Castillo has played the game all of her life.
“I know my stuff. I know a lot about softball. I’ve been playing softball all of my life,” she said. “I’ve been around it, and I’ve been taught by my dad (Calhoun head coach Daniel Castillo), coached with my dad, and coached here in Beeville and learned from (Alan) Burkett as well.
“I feel like I know what to expect and what it takes to be a head coach.”
“(The softball program has) been relatively successful in the past,” said new S-T athletic director Stephen Silva, “so hopefully she can build on that and take them a step or two further than they’re used to.”
Castillo will be one of four new head coaches at Skidmore-Tynan, a group that includes Silva, who will be a head football coach for the first time in 2020.
Pat Flores will be Skidmore’s new head powerlifting coach, taking over for Daniel Hillis.
Flores will make the move south but stay in the county, going from Beeville to Skidmore. He was last a head powerlifting coach in 2019 when he helmed the Beeville program.
Flores will also take over as the Bobcats’ offensive line coach, again replacing Hillis.
“In talking to him through his interview and a couple of other visits, he seems to be pretty knowledgeable and has lots of experience (in powerlifting). I think he’s been doing it for 14 years,” Silva said about Flores. “It’s going to be a pretty good fit for us as far as having him as our O-line coach for football and, with his experience, getting the head powerlifting job.”
Bee County’s biggest school will have two new head coaches for the 2020-21 school year.
Sarah Martorell will again helm the JHS girls track and field team.
“Sarah is very capable,” said Beeville athletic director Chris Soza. “She’s dedicated, and she works hard. She’s been in charge of summer track before.
“She has a passion for track and that program will be in good hands with her.”
She served as the head coach of the Lady Trojan program in 2019 before stepping aside for the 2020 season to make room for Felicia Ramirez.
Ramirez is Beeville’s other new head coach, taking over as the head girls basketball coach for the departing Paul Yuma.
It will be Ramirez’s second stint as a head coach. She was previously the head girls basketball coach at Sinton from 2013-16.
Goliad will have four new head coaches in 2020-21.
Leslie Wunch takes over the Tigerettes’ girls basketball program, John Livas will be the new powerlifting coach and Greg Gonzales will be the new boys track and field head coach.
The other new head coach will be Kevin Salazar, who will take over the Goliad football program.
Wunch takes over Griffin Clary, who helmed the girls hoops program for one year.
“I just like her passion and her intensity,” Salazar said about Wunch, who was previously a teacher in the district, but didn’t coach before becoming the head girls basketball coach at St. Joseph in Victoria.
“I think she does a great job from what I’ve seen to relating to the girls.
“... I’m just excited to have her and her family in the Goliad program again.”
Livas comes over from Skidmore-Tynan, where he was the athletic director and head football coach.
He will run the Tigers’ powerlifting program and will be the football team’s offensive coordinator.
“He’s got a ton of experience. ... He really gets after it and loves the weight room,” Salazar said of Livas, who replaces Dustin Meaux as the head powerlifting coach. “I think he’s going to be a great asset to our powerlifting program. I’m excited about what he’s going to do with them.”
Gonzales will take over for Salazar as the leader of the boys track program after a one-year stint in Beeville as an assistant football and track coach.
“He’s just a hard worker and really gets after it. I like his passion,” Salazar said about Gonzales. “... I think he’s going to be a great asset to continue the success that we’ve had in the boys track and field program.”
Amy Psencik will technically enter her second year as the head softball coach. Her first year at the helm was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She’s a real passionate person about softball and very relatable to the kids,” Salazar said of Psencik. “... I know she’s eager to get back in there with the softball girls and lead that program.
“I’m really excited about having her here.”
Bee County’s northernmost high school will have four new head coaches for the 2020-21 school year.
Rolando Zepeda will be the Eagles’ head baseball coach, Morgan Franke will take over the cross country program, Justin House will helm the golf program and Jerry Connell will lead the boys basketball program.
Zepeda takes over for Cody Ruiz, who left for Three Rivers after spending the past four seasons in Pettus.
“I think this is the next step for coach Zepeda. He worked well under Cody (Ruiz) for two years. They helped each other learn,” said Pettus athletic director Michael Enriquez about Zepeda, an alumnus of nearby Kenedy High and a former hardballer at Coastal Bend College.
“It’s time for (Zepeda) to start figuring it out on his own and building his program the way he wants. I don’t think we’ll skip a beat there with him.”
Franke will be a head coach for the first time as the leader of the Eagle cross country team.
“I think she’s going to give a little life to that program and get more kids out,” Enriquez said of Franke. “That’s what we’re hoping for with her.”
House has had his eyes on helming the golf program since he arrived in Pettus, according to Enriquez.
“He’s wanted it for a long time, but it just never fit,” said Enriquez. “... He’s wanted it since he’s been here and it finally fell where I could get him into it.”
Connell will take over the Pettus boys basketball program from Oscar Vasquez, who left to become the head boys coach at Poteet.
Connell previously spent eight years at the helm in Kenedy, leading the Lions to at least 15 wins in five of his eight seasons, including a 25-win season in 2014-15 when the Lions won the District 30-2A championship.
“I think coach Connell is going to be great for us. ... He has his system he wants to implement from the lower levels up,” Enriquez said about his new boys hoops coach. “He knows how to play with 2A caliber athletes. It’s not something a 5A coach is trying to bring down. It’s something he’s made for us and our style of kids.
“We’re fortunate to have coach Connell. ... I think he’s going to be good.”