Stillwater News Press

May 12, 2014

The Holt Report: Former Cowboy Cervantes lands first head coaching gig

By Ron Holt
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — While stopping by a Stillwater High youth baseball camp three summers ago to pick up my grandson I watched Manny Cervantes, the former Oklahoma State standout first baseman, teach the game to 10-year-olds.

At the time Cervantes, a local insurance agent, was serving as a volunteer coach on SHS head coach Tony Holt’s staff.

His approach to teaching bunting was impressive. It was more impressive to witness the passion he had for teaching the game.

It was obvious that coaching was in Cervantes’ future.

“I jumped at the chance to have a guy the caliber of Manny Cervantes join our program,” Coach Holt said. “Not only was he a very knowledgeable baseball guy but he’s a class act who worked extremely well with our kids.

“I hated losing him but I knew from day one that he had dreams of being a college coach,” he added.

After two seasons with SHS, Cervantes accepted a position at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, serving as recruiting coordinator and assistant coach.

After two seasons helping turn a struggling Eagle program into a national power, Cervantes’ coaching career is taking a new path.

He was recently named the head baseball coach at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky. Asbury competes in the NAIA’s Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“I’m excited and honored to be the head baseball coach at Asbury,” Cervantes said in a recent OC news release. “I believe God has called me to lead this program and our family is excited to be a part of the Asbury community.

“For me, coaching is about more than the game of baseball, it’s an opportunity and responsibility to make a positive impact on young adults. Our team will win on the field and be a program that Asbury will be proud of for years to come,” he said.

Cervantes will rely upon his Christian values and his experiences in baseball as his foundation to be a head coach.

After an impressive prep career in Whittier, Calif., Cervantes played on three NCAA Tournament teams at OSU and played in one NCAA Championship game.

He transferred to the University of Kentucky for his senior season, earning second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1991.

He later signed with the Seattle Mariners and played two seasons of Class A ball before coaching in the Mariners’ minor-league system from 1992-1994.

Making the move to Kentucky will be an adjustment for Cervantes, his wife Jami and their three children, who have lived in Stillwater for around 20 years.

But, Cervantes feels led to take this position and feels blessed to have the opportunity. Asbury is also blessed.

“I’m proud of him and happy for him,” Coach Holt said. “I love the guy and his family and I wish him well. That program is very lucky to get a guy like him.”

Ron Holt is a columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Holt was a sports editor for the News Press for nearly 30 years and currently resides in Bixby.