Enrique Villa to lead Pioneer softball

Enrique Villa – who has close to 25 years’ coaching experience, almost half of that at nearby...
Enrique Villa – who has close to 25 years’ coaching experience, almost half of that at nearby Plainview High School – has been named WBU’s softball coach.(Wayland Baptist Athletics)
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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Provided by Wayland Baptist Athletics

Wayland Baptist’s first-ever softball head coach isn’t having to travel far to assume the reigns of the Pioneer program.

Enrique Villa – who has close to 25 years’ coaching experience, almost half of that at nearby Plainview High School – has been named WBU’s softball coach.

“I am happy to announce that Enrique Villa has accepted the position as Wayland’s first softball coach,” WBU athletics director Jim Giacomazzi said. “He is a man of character and deep faith. He understands what we do here at Wayland, which is to educate students in an academically challenging, learning-focused and distinctively Christian environment for professional success and service to God and humankind.

“He will have the opportunity to start a program from the ground up.”

Wayland announced in mid-June that it will launch softball during the 2022-23 academic year. The Pioneers will compete as a club team this coming spring before joining 17 other WBU sports in the Sooner Athletic Conference the following season.

Wayland looks to practice and play in the city-owned softball complex in Running Water Draw Park, including the brand new field. In fact, Villa lives very near the facility.

“What a blessing and honor it is to start this program for Wayland,” Villa said. “I’m super exited and will do the best I can to bring success to it as quickly as possible. I’m beyond excited about not only the possibilities that Wayland softball will have but what I sense it will become over time. It’s a program I believe players will flock to, and it’s my hope to use the sport of softball to minister to young people, lead them closer to the Lord, and at the same time He will bless us.”

A native of Fort Stockton, Villa graduated from Texas Tech in 1996 and immediately began his head coaching career at Ferris High School. He turned in two stints at Ferris, separated by a two-year period coaching volleyball at Dallas Christian High School, then was head softball coach at West Mesquite High School from 2005-12.

He’s been in Plainview ever since, serving as assistant coach until assuming head coaching duties in 2019.

Villa has helped his softball teams to the state playoffs a dozen times, including a trip to the regional quarterfinals his first season as an assistant in 2013. As PHS’s head coach, Villa guided the Lady Bulldogs to a pair of bi-district playoff showings.

“Enrique has developed strong softball programs everywhere he has been,” Giacomazzi said. “His passion for the sport is contagious. His knowledge will be very beneficial for the development of Wayland’s softball program.”

Wayland’s first class of players will have a definite Plainview feel. Even before Villa came on-board, the Pioneers signed five former Lady Bulldogs among their 10 commitments thus far.

“Coach Villa’s first class will be the foundation of leadership for the future of our Pioneer softball program,” Giacomazzi said.

“I’m super excited that the girls who have signed have taken that step of faith,” Villa said. “I’m asking them to look forward to see what this program can become. Hopefully over the next four years these girls will have the time of their lives and graduate and be ready to face the world. My hope is Wayland softball will be a big part of that for them.”

Villa said friends encouraged him to seek the Wayland job. After that, he said, he simply followed the Lord’s calling.

“It was never a career goal to coach in college. I always enjoyed coaching high school. But I have a daughter who graduated from Wayland and a son on the football team, and I know a lot of good people who love the Lord who attended Wayland.

“I decided to take that first step and see where God takes it, then just kept taking steps until He gave me an answer.”

Villa said he is prepared to hit the ground running, but wants to go slow in order to give the program the best chance for success.

“I’m ready to go, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I want to give everything to the girls they’ll need to start this journey.”

Villa has lots of work ahead of him, including ordering equipment, building a schedule and recruiting more players.

He and wife Sandra, a second grade teacher at North Elementary, have four children: Analisa graduated from Wayland in December and now is teaching and coaching at Plainview High School; Andrew is a senior member of the Pioneer football team; Adam is a sophomore at West Texas A&M; and Abram is a fifth-grader.