By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Welcome back home.
Craig Sherwood was named the new head baseball coach at John Burroughs High School on Tuesday replacing Kiel Holmes who resigned on August 1. Sherwood served as an assistant coach at Burbank High School for the past three years under Coach Bob Hart.
“I still sit here and find it hard to believe. It is going to be a process that may take a while, but when I wake up every day I know that there will be a daily goal to get better,” Sherwood said.
“I feel a tremendous responsibility to everyone who has supported me in this move, even (Burbank coach) Bob Hart who is a Burroughs’ alum.”
In a homecoming that seemed inevitable and destined to happen again at some point in his life, Sherwood has returned to Burroughs where he previously coached in 1984-85 and 1996-00 as an assistant varsity coach winning a league title in 1997. More significantly, Sherwood is a 1976 graduate of JBHS and has lived in the Burbank community his whole life.
“It has always been great to be an assistant coach at JBHS, but to be the head coach is an incredible honor and very humbling,” Sherwood said. “I have had former players that I had not heard from in over 10 years reach out with support. It is really important that we bring back traditions and celebrate our alumni.”
Burbank won its first league title since 1991 this past spring. Sherwood played an integral part of the team’s success as the Bulldogs finished 17-9 overall and 12-2 in league.
After three years of witnessing the Burbank program improve each and every season, Sherwood reflected upon his time spent there.
“Bob Hart gave me an opportunity to come back to my hometown and do what I love, working and watching boys transform into young men. Bob has an incredible read on players and situations and has taught me volumes,” said Sherwood, who actually coached Hart when Hart was a young student of the game. “Those kids last year really bought into the system and will forever be able to visit the field, see that championship banner, and know they were part of something very special.
“I am also glad that the JV team also won the league title going away. I know the talent is still strong and the young players will have a bright future. They will battle the heck out of us.”
The one-two combination of Hart and Sherwood at BHS will be missed but the future matchups between friends and baseball peers will be full of intrigue and ultimate respect.
“Coach Sherwood did a great job for us at Burbank High School,” Hart said. “I’m sure he will continue to do the same at Burroughs. We wish him the best of luck.”
Prior to coming to Burbank, Sherwood was a varsity assistant at Crespi High School for 16 years covering two different stints (1986-93, 2001-08).
While at Crespi working under Scott Muckey, Sherwood coached current Minnesota Twins third baseman, Trevor Plouffe, and former MLB pitcher, Jeff Suppan, who won a World Series ring with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and was the National League Championship Series MVP that same season.
A third Celt who played for Sherwood could very well make the Major Leagues soon as Crespi 2008 star Sean Gilmartin is a top pitching prospect for the Atlanta Braves. Gilmartin was a first-round draft pick of the Braves in 2012.
“I was lucky enough to have spent 16 years with the best high school coach in America,” Sherwood said of Muckey. “Here is a man who won State titles as a college coach, coached in the College World Series, and has even coached professional baseball at the Triple-A level and he still had the patience to mentor and teach me the respect of the game. He will always be one of the baseball gods.”
Sherwood won a CIF championship in 2003 at Crespi, the program’s first-ever title, capturing several league titles along the way in one of the toughest leagues (Mission) in the Southland.
His coaching career has now come full circle. Sherwood inherits a Burroughs program that went 17-12 and 10-4 in the Pacific League last season (3rd place). The Indians last won a league title in 1997; a season Sherwood knows too well.
From Burroughs to Crespi to Burbank and now back to Burroughs, Sherwood has been a winner everywhere he has coached.
“It’s well-deserved,” said Hart.