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Powell steps aside after decade with Miami baseball

David Sowders
Posted 5/23/23

When the Globe Tigers won a state baseball championship in 2009, Brandon Powell was an

assistant coach for one of his former players.

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Powell steps aside after decade with Miami baseball


When the Globe Tigers won a state baseball championship in 2009, Brandon Powell was an assistant coach for one of his former players. Earlier this month, Powell stepped down after 10 successful years as head baseball coach of the Miami Vandals – but his contributions to the sport in Globe-Miami go deeper than that. And he isn’t finished with Miami sports; he is moving from the diamond to the court as the Vandals’ new basketball coach, and will still lead the football team.

Before becoming Miami’s head baseball coach, Powell spent 19 years as an assistant coach for Globe’s varsity, JV and junior high teams, with the latter winning two Southern Arizona state championships. Not only that, Powell also devoted a dozen of those years to coaching younger players, with eight years in Little League and four years with the Cal Ripken League. His Cal Ripken teams won three state championships and played in three regional tournaments, even hosting one locally.

“Those kids played for me at Globe,” Powell said, “and they played for me on our state championship team.” That team’s head coach, David Lopez, was one of Powell’s former players. “He went on to college baseball, got his teaching degree and came back to coach at Globe,” Powell said.

Powell said he officially resigned as Vandals head coach “probably two days after the last playoff game [a May 5 loss to Phoenix Country Day].” He said he made the move in order to concentrate more on the business he and his father operate, Elite Safety Training.

“It was something that I kind of figured was coming because of this business right here,” he said. “My dad has had some health issues over the last couple of years, and baseball season was making it real hard for me here. Even for home games I had to be at the field by twelve o’clock to get the field ready. It was just a strain, trying to run the business and still do baseball. One of them had to give, and it can’t be this.”

Under Powell, the Vandals won their region’s championship eight years in a row; his overall record with Miami was 167-62-2, including 16-3 in his 10th and last season.

“This season I tried to make the toughest schedule I could make,” he said. “We went after as many teams out of the East as we could, because that’s usually the toughest region.” The slate included Morenci, Pima and third-ranked Tombstone. “We had the toughest-ranked schedule in the state and we came out of it 16-3, so we had a pretty good season.”

The Vandals’ season ended at home with a 4-3, 10-inning playoff loss to Phoenix Country Day. “We went into the tournament and just hit a superstorm,” Powell said. “We went in flat as a team in the first round. We faced the best pitcher in 2A [Eagles senior Tim Moriarty, who was named 2A Player of the Year], and he threw an excellent game against us. They just played an excellent game against us. Everything we hit, they caught.”

Powell may be leaving Miami’s baseball fields, but he hasn’t walked away from Vandal sports. Starting Monday, May 29 he moves to the basketball court to succeed retired head coach Ken Vargas – and he will continue to lead the Vandals’ football team, which started practice May 15. He said neither should conflict with running Elite Safety Training, since practices and games are in the afternoon and evening.

“It’s exciting to take on something new,” Powell said. “I haven’t coached basketball for 21 years; I was the JV coach at Globe. So it’s been a while, but I’m looking forward to it. Those [Coach Vargas’] are some big shoes to fill. I’m just hoping I can maintain the quality of basketball programs he’s been putting out for the last 20 years.”