Espino new softball coach at LHS
By Kyle Mooty
Taking the long approach to getting back to what he truly believes was his calling, Manny Espino is especially excited about joining Lockhart High School as head softball coach of the Lions.
For a program rich in tradition, Espino hopes LHS returns to its winning ways… quickly.
“Knowing Lockhart and its softball program, I’ve looked back over the last 10 years, and I think they only missed the playoffs last year,” Espino said.
Espino is from San Marcos, graduating from high school there as well as Southwest Texas State University. Upon graduating from college, he moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and entered corporate America in mortgage and sales as well as foreclosures.
He had originally planned on coaching, but school incidents, including the tragedy at Columbine, led him into corporate America.
Then, about six years ago, Espino began coaching Select softball and realized he had missed his calling.
“I got involved in coaching down this way and went back to get my teaching certificate,” he said. “My first job was coaching at Lehman High School.”
At Lehman, Espino coached softball, football, and baseball as an assistant’s role. The Lobos’ softball team won 18 games last season.
“I believe we can compete for a playoff spot,” Espino said of the Lockhart squad. “My number one goal is to compete. Lockhart could compete last season until something happened in the game when the team faced adversity. We were tied 0-0 until the fifth inning last year. We scored all our runs in the sixth and seventh. They competed for five innings against us. The makeup of the team was majority, sophomores, and freshmen last year.
“I feel we can compete. We have pretty good arms. Pitching is something that will definitely help us compete.”
Espino met with the team when he was introduced in June. They did strength and conditioning throughout the summer and a lot of them play travel ball, something Espino said is “definitely a plus.”
Numbers-wise, Espino is uncertain at the moment how many platers will be out for both the junior varsity and varsity, but all told he expects a large incoming freshman class to make the total about 45 or 50, a healthy number overall.
Espino has been involved with the Bombers Fastpitch Organization since 2020. He has coached teams within the age groups of 12U to 18U. In 2018, he helped start up the DFW Express Fastpitch Organization. The organization grew to over 20 teams throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Espino and his wife of more than 20 years, Jessica, have a daughter, Bella, and 8th grader at Lockhart Junior High that excels in softball, volleyball, as well as throwing the discus.
Espino will also be teaching AP World History at LHS.
He’s excited about the Lions’ eagerness.
“For sure,” he said with a smile. “Seeing them come out for our softball camp was great. Our off-season program will include lifting, speed, and agility; we’re not going to touch a softball for about six weeks. We will get stronger and get faster. Fall ball starts the second week of September.
“I’m excited to be here. Growing up in San Marcos, Lockhart always seem like a tight community, and you would see them support come Friday nights. They had a good crowd when they came to Lehman for softball, and when we came here the stands were packed.”