KWHS state championship baseball coach four times over, Ralph Henriquez returns to the island to make some moves towards securing district and state titles.
His last position was in Miami coaching baseball for Berlin Jesuit. Henriquez left to work with the Atlanta Braves and can also list the New York Yankees on his resume. Fans of the Conchs are proud about the 11 state baseball championships the young men have secured on the diamond. Henriquez said this year, he isn’t going to go after state titles, but rather ask his coaches to start eyeing more attainable goals: district titles. To accomplish this, he wants to see more athletes involved in league play, summer camps, and recreational leagues.
High school sports are unique in that we have one island and one high school. There aren’t student athletes elsewhere from which to recruit by touting dynamite coaches and accelerated programs which will fast track them onto a college or professional roster.
“When these kids in big, metropolitan cities see a coach that brings credibility to those programs they will drop their school on a dime and switch,” he explained. “This makes it very difficult for Key West to stay on top. I want them to work very hard. Outwork the opponents, and win ballgames. I’ve told the coaches we want a stronger commitment and to challenge our kids to give us year round programs to work on their skills.”
Henriquez pointed to the research that has been conducted and shows most CEOs and presidents of Fortune 500 companies are former student athletes. Companies look for individuals who are very competitive, very energetic, have a vision and possess leadership. These are all skills which most athletes and Henriquez is asking his coaches to help develop them and thus the athletes gain a competitive edge post graduation.
“There’s a lot that goes on in the world of athletics that go on to translate into the business world and workplace. This year we’re going to see a lot of improvement across the boards.”