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Amaral makes coach of the year three years running

Darin Olde, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Whittell High no longer has a baseball team.

It has a baseball program, a streamline, all-league churning machine with a coach that has risen above the rest.

The other coaches, in fact, have put him up there.

Northern Nevada 2A league coaches elected Don Amaral as the coach of the year.

Again.

Amaral was the Northern Nevada 3A coach of the year in 2000 and the state 2A coach of the year with a state title team as the prize in 2001. This is his third award in as many years.

“I was really pleased,” Amaral said on Thursday. “They honored me at 9-7 (in league).”

Many felt Whittell would be the doormat on the road to a new league champion after losing so many of its key players.

Yet, Whittell reached the zone championship game for the third consecutive time and finished third in league.

Three seems to be Whittell’s number in 2002.

Amaral points out the award is shared among his three assistant coaches Lars Baker, Rick Gardner and Ernie Frederick.

Together, they’ve established a 64-46 overall record since 1999, going 31-13 in league and 10-4 in zone.

Amaral said the overall record doesn’t reflect the team’s ability since he schedules nonleague games against teams that are much stronger.

“I’d much rather lose to a 3A school than win a game 20-1,” he said.

When he’s not coaching Whittell’s program, Amaral is still involved with baseball.

He’s on both the Babe Ruth and Little League board of directors and coaches a high school team in the fall. He’s also an umpire.

Call it his second career.

His first was that of a turnaround CEO for large, publicly held health care companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He told himself he wanted to retire at 45 and do something totally different with his life.

“I missed it by a year,” he said.

Since, he’s devoted his life to baseball.

“(Baseball) is a sport where anybody at any size can compete,” he said, refering to Sho Kashima, an up-and-coming star at just over 5 feet tall and less than 100 pounds.

Amaral’s love of the game goes back to his own youth, where he played from season to season, league to league.

Eventually, he played catcher for Saint Edwards University, a Division-II school in Austin, Texas. A back injury during a collision at home plate ended his career. He hasn’t played since, but embraced coaching with the same ferocity that propelled him on the field.

“Coaching is a totally different experience,” Amaral said.

His goal to create a program at Whittell where young players will know what they’re shooting for and what’s expected when they get there has been his goal. He wants to create a program where a player who has never been a hitter can make a .400 season, earn a place on an all-league team and learn the game the right way.

“… Seeing the excitement and letting them experience that,” Amaral said. That’s what it’s all about.


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