By Pete Banda
Despite several reports to the contrary, long time softball coach Elias Martinez will not be returning to San Benito – at least not this year. Lady ’Hounds fans across the City were ecstatic after different online news outlets reported Martinez would be welcomed back to San Benito to replace departed coach Kristy Leal, who bolted for Mercedes at the end of the last season. The news was expected to come down at a regular school board meeting on Tuesday, however, Martinez remains under contract with Harlingen South – making it impossible for him to accept a position with the Lady ’Hounds.
Martinez left San Benito after the 2015 season, one in which he led San Benito to their second State Tournament in three years. He has since turned the Hawks into a legitimate playoff contender and San Benito has failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs in back-to-back years. With the departure of Leal, the Martinez rumors started to gain traction, but sources close to the situation say several other coaches have been nominated by Athletic Director Dan Gomez, only to be turned down by trustees. As of press time on Thursday, the position remained vacant and the school was still taking applications.
Attempts to contact several trustees were unsuccessful before Thursday’s
During his tenure with the Lady ’Hounds, Martinez put together a resume that would make any Texas softball coach green with envy. During his 18 seasons with the team, Martinez compiled an impressive 404-119 overall record with 15 seasons of at least 20 wins, seven “Sweet 16” appearances and two trips to the State Tournament.
Martinez had been a part of the softball program in San Benito since its inception back in the mid 1990’s, though that wasn’t his initial intention. According to an interview with the NEWS back in 2013, Martinez stated he was originally aiming for an assistant spot on the varsity baseball squad. While that never happened, Martinez would eventually join the staff of skipper Butch Brotherton on the first ever Lady Greyhounds softball team. After four seasons as an understudy, Martinez was named the Head Coach of the team and the rest, as they say, is history.
The head coach of the San Benito softball team remains a premier position in Valley Athletics and should garner plenty more applicants before the season starts. With only three months before the team usually begins workouts though, a new coach should be named sooner rather than later.