After two years of playing under an interim coach, the EPCC Tejanos recently hired Julien Soucy to take over the baseball program.
Soucy, 28, will have his work cut out for him, taking over a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2008. The Tejanos have gone 190-410 in that span.
After spending the last three years coaching in Florida, Soucy returns to the Southwest, a place with which he’s very familiar.
Soucy fielded some questions from El Paso Inc. about his background and new gig.
Q. Tell us a little about your personal life, your background.
I was born in Grand Falls New Brunswick, Canada, but I moved to the states when I was 5 so I don’t have much of an accent. Coming here is a bit of a homecoming for me; though I don’t live in El Paso I’m from the area and still have family living in Las Cruces.
Q. What is your past coaching experience?
This is my first year as a collegiate head coach. I spent the last three years as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Southeastern University (Lakeland, Florida).
It was one of those right-place right-time kind of things that I got hired. We went 50-11 my first season there; won the NAIA national championship my second year and finished fifth in the college world series last season.
Q. What will it take to break EPCC’s streak of 11 straight losing seasons?
The easy answer is to lower the ERA and raise the batting average (laughing). I think it’s as simple as getting the right guys who will buy into the culture of winning we’re trying to promote. We want to recruit guys on what El Paso has to offer. The Chihuahuas are here now and Downtown is booming, there are a lot of things for the kids to do so we have to sell them on the city.
Q. What is your baseball coaching philosophy?
To have a successful team you have to have a mixture of all types of ballplayers. Of course, pitching is what is going to win you ballgames.
But if you rely solely on speed or solely on hitting the long ball, you’re going to be one-dimensional. We also want guys who get good grades and do the right thing in the community. At the end of the day, baseball is going to end for everybody, but the degree is going to stay with you forever.
Q. How good is the high school baseball talent in the area?
Even when I played in high school in Alamogordo, I remember playing teams like Ysleta, Montwood and Eastwood in a tournament and thinking to myself, “these guys can really play.”
I know there’s a lot of talent in the El Paso and Las Cruces area. There are always kids who are talented enough to play college baseball but the tough thing is to convince them to stay in El Paso.
My goal is to keep the better talent here and make them happy they did.
Q. What will constitute a successful season for you?
Off the field, it’ll be getting players to graduate and move on to programs they’d like to attend. On the field, if we can get the kids to buy into the coaching staff, their teammates and the system, we’ll be on the right track.