June 6, 2023
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By Derek Lopez

Sudan Independent School District and Athletic Director John Cornelius decided to hire from within when looking for someone to lead their softball program. Lubbock native, Daniel Gutierrez, who was in his first year at Sudan ISD, was tabbed to be the first Head Coach of the Nettes’ softball program.
Gutierrez graduated from Coronado High School in 1996 and earned an Associate of Science degree from South Plains College in 2002, before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Lubbock Christian University in December of 2006 and his Masters Degree in Education Administration from Lamar University in August of 2019.
Coach Gutierrez has been coaching for 13 years and began his career at Uvalde ISD from the fall of 2007 to the spring of 2011, where he was the varsity girl’s soccer assistant coach and varsity baseball assistant coach. He then spent two years at Rocksprings ISD from the fall of 2012 to the spring of 2014, where he was the Head boys varsity track and field and cross country coach. He was also an assistant coach for the boy’s varsity basketball team and varsity football team.
Coach Gutierrez returned to Uvalde ISD in the fall of 2014, spending time as an assistant coach for the varsity football, baseball and boy’s soccer teams before leaving there after the spring of 2016.
Prior to the 2019-2020 school year, Coach Gutierrez spent the last three years at Springlake-Earth ISD, where he was the Head varsity boys cross country coach, track and field coach and spent a year as the head boys basketball coach. During that time he was also an assistant for the football, baseball and boy’s basketball teams.
Coach Gutierrez said that he is not married and doesn’t have any kids, but he does have a big family.
“My parents are Concepcion
and Yolanda Gutierrez,” he said. “I have two brothers, three sisters, two brother-in-laws and two sister-n-laws.
I also have eight nieces and eight nephews.”
The coach said that in his spare time he likes to BBQ and cook out with friends and family.
“I enjoy taking trips, being in the outdoors and fishing,” he said. “I enjoy watching the University of Texas in any sports.”
Coach Gutierrez talked about being able to help start the softball program at Sudan, saying, I am humbled and honored to be given the opportunity to be the first softball coach and to be a part of building the softball program. The community has been talking about this for years and for it to finally be happening is a special moment for them.”
He added, “The history and tradition that Sudan has in UIL activities is outstanding and I could not be more excited about starting a new program and creating traditions. The ladies that have been in the athletic program are excited to have softball and for the opportunity to showcase their talent.”
Coach Gutierrez talked about his coaching philosophy, stating, “Winning isn’t easy. It takes hard work and paying attention to detail.”
He added, We must communicate as a team on how we want to accomplish and attain those goals that we set in place. In the process we work hard and do the little things right to find success. In sports we need to remember we are teaching young adults life lessons like commitment, perseverance and team work, but never forget one of the most important things, which is just to have fun and enjoy the moment.
Coach Gutierrez explained that what made him want to get into coaching were his coaches at Mackenzie Junior High.
The were the ones that influenced me in wanting to coach,” he explained. “In college I was able to volunteer as a coach for basketball at the local elementary and that led me to pursue a career in coaching and teaching.”
The Coach said that he is most looking forward to seeing the excitement and passion these ladies, parents and the community will have for softball after waiting several years for it.
“I personally am looking forward to coaching and competing,” Coach Gutierrez said. “I must add the girls have talked about softball all year and even have some chants ready to go. We have a cast of characters, so it will be fun and interesting and I am just happy for them.”
Coach Gutierrez talked about some coaches and athletes who have inspired him on his coaching journey, saying, “I have been around some good coaches who are great people. But, I am a big UT fan and I follow and read a lot about coaching legend Augie Garrido. He is my favorite athlete/coach that inspired me throughout my career.”
He added, “Coach Garrido’s speeches, philosophies and quotes are what I read from time-to-time because he taught baseball as life lessons and not just a game that you played. He became a great coach, but most of his players remember him more for the life lessons he taught them through baseball. I believe that is what coaching is all about, teaching young adults about skills and life lessons.”
In their first two seasons, Sudan will be sharing a district with Floydada, Hale Center, Lockney, New Deal, Ralls, Sundown and Crosbyton.
“I think the district has many competitive teams that have advanced deep into the playoffs every year since 2015,” he explained. “Ralls has made five straight appearances to the Regional Semifinals. New Deal has made the playoffs the last four years, advancing to the Regional Quarterfinals twice and having made an appearance in the Regional Semi-Finals. Floydada has made the playoffs the last two years and advanced to the Regional Quarterfinals and the RegionalSemifinals.”
He added, “Sundown has made the playoffs the last five years in a row, four times making it into the Area round. Crosbyton made the playoffs last year and went to the Regional Quarterfinals and Lockney made the playoffs for four straight years and only missed out the last two years. The district is stacked with talented teams and it seems like they end up running into each other in the playoffs and knock each other out. That says a lot for the district itself. I am ready for the spring and to see what we can do out on the field. The girls have been waiting for a long time for this opportunity to compete in softball at the high school level.”

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