Paul Cieremans has been named the next head baseball coach at Los Lunas High School, following the resignation of Shaun Reed, who had led the program for four years.
While head coach, Reed went 33-30 across three full seasons and one shorted due to the pandemic. His 2019 squad was his most successful, going 16-9 and earned a trip to the state semifinals as the No. 10 seed before falling to No. 3 seed Artesia.
Cieremans is no stranger to coaching at LLHS, having previously led the softball program for 17 seasons, and spending 18 in total with the program. Now, he moves to the boys’ side to coach baseball.
Cieremans, who also teaches social studies at Los Lunas, was out of coaching last year following his resignation from the softball team, which gave him more time to watch his children, who are both athletes at LLHS, play before the season was canceled due to COVID-19.
Coaching baseball has always been one of Cieremans’ goals, as he grew up playing.
“Coaching baseball is always something I’ve wanted to do, I grew up playing and was an assistant coach, it’s always been something where I wanted to lead my own baseball program someday, so I’m really excited now to have the chance,” he said.
He takes over the Los Lunas program at a challenging time, with changes to the schedule made due to COVID, there will be ten sports played next spring, leading to teams and multi-sport athletes having to work out how best to split those players time.
In addition, Los Lunas moves up in classification to Class 5A, and will play in a district made of much larger schools.
“The biggest difference with this is the depth. When you have a school that has 2,200 students, compared with us, we have like 1,400 students, so that’s an advantage for them already,” Cieremans said.
Cieremans isn’t concerned, however, and is confident his team will be able to adapt quickly.
“The thing about athletes from Valencia County is they have a lot of heart, they’re going to go toe to toe with whoever they get put up against.”
With the baseball season not scheduled to get underway until April, about two months after it would normally begin, things will look different in preparation for the season.
In addition, with Los Lunas Schools electing to remain online through the entire first semester, some of the time that Cieremans would normally get with his players in the athletics class won’t be available to him as a result.
Currently, the baseball season is scheduled to begin on April 5, with the season running through June 26. The season will overlap with football, soccer and wrestling, potentially spreading athletes thin that might not be normally as they juggle multiple sports.
Cieremans said he wants to build off of the foundation that Reed established while he was leading the program.
“I’ll probably be tweaking some things, but for the most part we’re just going to be able to build off of the foundation that Coach Reed left in place here,” he said.
The immediate tasks on Cieremans’ plate revolve around assembling his staff and getting assistant coaches on board so he is able to begin offseason workouts with the team now that the dead period has been lifted.
Once assistants are hired, he will be able to begin setting up workouts and adhering to the phase one restrictions limiting instruction to groups of 5-to-1.