Kerlin at signing

Pictured here during an athletic signing in Manvel with pitcher Sam Simmons last spring, Kelly Kerlin (left) was named the new head baseball coach at Alvin High School on July 11. Kerlin guided the Mavericks to the playoffs six times and also coached Wharton High School to a playoff appearance.

(Courtesy photo)

Kelly Kerlin was named the new head baseball coach at Alvin High School earlier this week with Alvin ISD making the hiring official on July 11.

Kerlin is making the short move over from Manvel High School, where he served as the Mavericks’ head baseball coach for the past 10 seasons. Kerlin replaces Anthony Scalise, who turned in his resignation last month.

“I’ve known about the position here in Alvin since I came to this area in 2001,” Kerlin said. “The program is rich in tradition and to be able to lead a program of that stature is a challenge, but one that I’m very excited about and look forward to coaching.”

Kerlin’s sister, Kylie Kunefke, will be entering her second year as the head volleyball coach at Alvin High School.

“Kelly has always been a person of high character,” Kunefke said. “Throughout my high school career, he’d mail me quotes and clippings from college to inspire and motivate me. He always had it in him to want to help motivate and serve others.

“I think even, if he wasn’t my brother, he’d still be someone that I’d always look to for advice. I’m so very proud of him.”

“It will be great having my niece and nephew come to our games and Kylie can also show me the ropes how things operate here (in Alvin),” Kerlin said.

Kerlin is fresh off coaching the South squad in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Star Game last month in Round Rock. Along with also serving head coaching stints at Wharton (2008-2010), Dickinson (2010-2012) and Manvel (2012-2022), he has guided seven teams to the playoffs overall with the last six appearances coming with the Mavs.

Kerlin guided the 2013 Mavs past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in school history with Manvel sweeping La Porte (7-3 and 7-4 scores) in the best-of-three bi-district series. The Mavs then edged Brazoswood, 8-6 in a one-game area playoff, before falling to Pearland in back-to-back regional quarterfinal series games.

“I knew we had a good chance of going deep in the playoffs, because we had a lot of experienced kids coming back,” Kerlin said.

The 2016 Manvel playoff squad ranks among the most memorable for the Mary Hardin Baylor graduate.

“We went as the fourth place team, because we beat Dawson twice, but we then had to face the No. 1 ranked team in the nation unfortunately, Deer Park, to start off,” he said.

On two occasions, Maverick teams under Kerlin also took eventual state champions to the limit with Port Neches-Groves (2017) and Barbers Hill (2021) both escaping with one-run victories in the deciding third game of a best-of-three series. In fact, Manvel’s 5-2 victory in game two of the-best-three bi-district series was the only loss the Eagles suffered in the postseason last spring.

“I’m real proud of what we did at Manvel and felt we were able to get a lot out of the kids,” Kerlin said. “They worked real hard.”

While the Jackets encountered heavy graduation losses from its 21-9 bi-district finalist squad, starting pitchers Cooper Williams and Jack Marek will be back along with sluggers Boston Lee and Easton Winfield on the offensive side.

All-District 23-6A first teamers Williams and Marek combined for 12 victories on the hill last spring, while Lee and Winfield were both all-district second team selections.

“You talk to other coaches around the area and it’s well known that Alvin has some talent coming back next year,” Kerlin said. “I’m real excited to meet these young men and hopefully we can improve on what they did this year.”

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