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Tribe gets new coach

Baseball: Kiel Holmes, a former Burroughs player, hopes to bring back stability to program.

November 25, 2011|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com

Stability is not a word that could be associated with the Burroughs High baseball program for more than even months.

A scandal that surfaced in April and a coach that was fired last month have served as unfortunate challenges for the Indians players.

But the Burroughs administration is hoping a move this week will bring that much-needed stability back to the program. Kiel Holmes, a former Indians player and Burroughs graduate, has been hired as the new Indians' coach.

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"His absolute strong point is that he knows and understands the community, and I think that's important," Burroughs High Principal Emilio Urioste said of Holmes. "He also has solid communication skills that will be important, not only in terms of the student-athletes but in terms of the parents and the booster organization."

Holmes, 29, a 2003 Burroughs graduate, takes over a program that has been in flux since the firing of former coach Eddie Alvarez on Oct. 31. Alvarez, who spent less than five months as the Indians' coach after being hired in June was dismissed because of "inconsistent leadership," according to Urioste.

Alvarez was hired following a well-publicized incident that occurred last season involving the Indians. The school fired the varsity baseball coach and three assistants and canceled the remainder of the season in April after discovering an assistant coach allegedly served players beer during a tournament trip to Arizona.

Indians Coach J.R. Schwer and the assistants, who were all at the mid-March tournament, were fired April 18. Schwer, who said he learned about the incident just three days before he was let go, acknowledged that a large number of players were served alcohol by an assistant coach.

Initially, the 11 players who drank were suspended five days. Seven athletes who were aware of the incident but failed to come forward were given two-day suspensions. The suspensions of the seven players who did not participate were later rescinded.

Holmes, who has served as an assistant coach at Burbank and worked at the Burbank-based West Coach Baseball School, said he is well aware of the struggles the program and its players have endured the past few months.

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