When Lazaro Llanes was a Miami Dade College student in 1984, he took coach Charlie Greene’s baseball class.
It’s not that Llanes failed it the first time. Rather, Llanes found it so rich in information that he decided to take it again.
On Tuesday afternoon – nearly four decades later – the MDC baseball world came full circle. Llanes was announced as the Sharks’ new baseball coach, making it clear that the ex-MDC student has now become the teacher.
Llanes, 56, clearly has a lot of baseball knowledge to share. He has spent more than 30 years in the game, serving as a scout for the Milwaukee Brewers (2018 to 2023) and the Miami Marlins (2014 to 2016). Among other jobs, Llanes also served six years at the head coach at Archbishop Carroll, and he spent a couple of seasons at the sports director at a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.
“Lazaro is the right guy for us because of everything that has to do with the words integrity, champion and leadership,” said former major-league pitching star Alex Fernandez, who is now a senior advisor to MDC athletics.
“We had a lot of qualified guys apply for this job. But when Lazaro threw his name into the pot, I was thrilled. We’re lucky to have him.”
Llanes joins impressive company.
MDC has a proud tradition of head baseball coaches, a list that includes Demie Mainieri, who led MDC to a national title in 1964; the aforementioned Greene, who led MDC to a national title in 1981; Steve Hertz, who led MDC to fifth place at the Junior College World Series in 2001; and Danny Price, who led MDC to a second-place national showing in 2014.
Llanes replaces Adrian Morales, who left to become the head coach at Nova Southeastern University. Morales, who had replaced Price, won two NCAA College World Series titles as a South Carolina Gamecocks third baseman.
As MDC’s coach, Morales won Southern Conference titles in each of the past three years, and his 2023 team also won a regional title and finished in the final four at the state championships.
Price and Hertz were both at Tuesday’s announcement, showing their support.
“I think it’s a great pick,” Price said. “(Llanes) is so involved with South Florida baseball – he’s an excellent man.”
Added Hertz: “I think (Llanes) is a perfect fit. He has a lot of contacts after having been a scout for so many years.”
MDC athletic director Mike Balado said he’s confident Llanes will bring in talent.
“His ability to identify good players and recruit them were big draws,” Balado said. “His experience and work ethic were other huge factors.”
Speaking to the Herald just before the announcement was made on the Kendall Campus’ baseball field, Llanes said he was honored to have people such as Hertz and Price at Tuesday’s event.
“It means everything to me,” Llanes said. “Without guys like (Hertz and Price), we wouldn’t have MDC baseball. It’s a great legacy.
“I’m emotionally drained.”
Llanes, who said he can’t wait to start working with his players, wasn’t planning to leave the Brewers.
But when Morales left MDC, things fell into place for Llanes, who believes that scouting has kept him current with the latest baseball trends.
“This is close to my heart because I went to school here,” said Llanes, a former infielder who wasn’t quite good enough to make the loaded MDC rosters in 1984 and ’85. “That class (taught by Greene) broke down every play possible in baseball.”
Llanes has made his next goal simple.
“We want to win a (Junior College) World Series,” he said. “I want to develop these players as people. But, on the field, there’s no other goal besides winning the national championship.”