Bryan Manoukian is no stranger to baseball in Carson City.
Manoukian, 35, played baseball for three years with the Carson Capitals and has worked as an assistant coach at Carson High the past four years.
And now, Manoukian gets a chance to run his show. Manoukian was recently named the new head baseball coach at Carson, replacing Cody Farnworth who resigned at the end of last season following the Senators 13-14 record.
Manoukian said he was excited to receive his first varsity head job. He ran the Carson program last summer.
"The summer was beneficial for me, the players and the parents," Manoukian said. "It presented an opportunity to develop with each other. Cody left me a great program.
"I learned (a great deal about) running a program from coach McNutt, Charles Oppio (at Manogue) and Cody. Playing for the Capitals and for coach McNutt was one of the best experiences of my life. Coach McNutt was in it for the right reason, for the betterment of the kids. He was always really good to me, and I loved playing for him."
Manoukian, who graduated from McQueen, was part of the Capitals' World Series team in 1996. Dusty Bergman of CHS was a member of that squad. Anybody who knows Manoukian knows that he's knowledgable, yet fiery. He's pleased with the effort has put in during off-season conditioning, which has included a lot of weight training.
"I don't want any team to outwork us, or play harder than we do," Manoukian said. "I want us to be mentally tough and ultimately competitive. It's not about the result, it's about the process."
McNutt, the former Carson coach and now head coach at Galena, thinks his protege will do fine, and he also offered up some friendly advice.
"I'd like to see him succeed," McNutt said. "He's very competitive. Losing isn't in his vocabulary. I hope he gets a fair chance; a fair chance from the administration. He's there to represent Carson High. He's going to do whatever it takes to get them ready. Teams that play Carson better be ready to play, because Brian is going to have his guys ready.
"When Brian played for me, we had a good team and he was one of the star players. Brian was always on time and always worked hard. He was the only player I let drive my tractor to mow the field. I did that until he hit a water sprinkler."
One may laugh about the tractor comment, but if you know McNutt, you know that field maintenance was a big deal, and he worked long and hard on the Carson diamond that bears his name to make it one of the top venues in Northern Nevada.
Anybody who knows coaching, the profession is more than just teaching a particular sport. One would hope that a player learns some life lessons on the way.
"No matter who you are, not everybody is going to agree with one's coaching methods," McNutt said. "What's important (for a parent) is what is he doing for my child. Is he teaching life lessons? Is he teaching him to respect the game?"
McNutt believes that Manoukian is capable of doing all three of the aforementioned things.
Manoukian inherits a team that is rich in pitching with Casey Wolfe (0-3, 6.16, Jace Zampirro (2-2, 2.48), Charlie Banfield (4-1, 395), Chase Blueberg (0-0, 5.53) and Tyler Valley (0-1, 5.53). All five saw significant action last season, and that experience is a good place to start. Teams in Division I in Northern Nevada will have a hard time matching that depth.
"Charlie and Casey really matured over the summer," Manoukian said. "Charlie would get in trouble and instead of throwing his way out of it, he would pitch his way out of it. Casey started to figure it out, and he was able to pitch to both sides of the plate."
Zampirro was the most consistent on the staff, and Blueberg threw a no-hitter during summer ball. Valley was effective out of the bullpen.
Other returning varsity players are catcher-first baseman Logan Krupp (.250), outfielder TJ Thomsen (.268), first baseman Luke Maher (.344) and shortstop Gehrig Tucker (.375). Wolfe, who also played outfield, batted .243.
"Gehrig is a very good shortstop," Manoukian said. "He's very solid; a gamer. He plays hard all the time. TJ is as competitive as anybody. I thought he made huge strides late in the season and during the summer. He and Gehrig make a good 1-2 punch."
The biggest question mark heading into the season is the catching position.
Krupp saw some action there last year, and junior Nevin Elliott played there during the summer. Neither has established himself as of yet.
"It (catching) is definitely an issue," Manoukian said. "It's a position we are going to have to address it. It might be a position that we do by committee."