Gino Satriana has been an assistant coach for Metro football and baseball teams since he graduated from Cibola High School in 1985, and after 37 seasons of being on the sideline, in the dugout or in a coach’s box, he’s now known as a hall of famer.
An assistant for Rio Rancho High School baseball coach Ron Murphy since the 2006 season, although he’s also been a Rams football assistant, Satriana was named the recipient of the Ray Chavez Assistant Coach’s Award and installed in the New Mexico High School Baseball Association’s Hall of Fame earlier this month.
“It was awesome – I was surprised when Murphy told me he had nominated me,” Satriana said. “I heard it was unanimous.”
Murphy has been the association’s president for the past 15 years, which matches Satriana’s longevity with the Rams.
Coincidentally, Murphy and Satriana began their coaching careers the same year; Murphy was at Sandia when Satriana began with the Cougars.
“He does all the little things,” Murphy said of Satriana, who is in the first base coach’s box when the Rams are a bat. “He orders apparel, plans our trips, writes out the lineup cards.”
Sure, those are important tasks, but more important, Murphy says, is loyalty.
Murphy said Satriana hasn’t chased head coaching jobs, and is allowed leeway as an assistant when his duties as second in command with the Rio Rancho School Employees Union and executive vice president//officer for AFT-NM, both since 2012.
Murphy has seen Satriana hit fungos at practice while taking cell phone calls about union matters.
“Murphy allows me to do this and have an outside job,” Satriana said. “I have the passion for it.”
“He’s content being an assistant coach,” Murphy said, happy to have this loyal guy on his staff.
“I’m retired from education; I was with the city for 20 years,” Satriana said. “I spent six years with the schools.”
Education runs in the family: His mother, Dorothy Satriana, spent many years teaching at Lincoln Middle School, which has a wing named in her honor; son Gino, a former Rams baseball player, teaches at Las Cruces High School, where he’s an assistant (surprise) with the Bulldawgs’ football and baseball teams..
Satriana was raised in Corrales, played Little League and Babe Ruth baseball, and then played football and baseball at Cibola High.
Former Cougars gridder David Patterson was a teammate, and remembered Satriana to be an intelligent center. The year the Cougars won their only state championship (1983) found Satriana a part of the team.
On the diamond, “I played third base, second base, left field, first base and catcher,” he said. “My best position was second base.”
His early diamond heroes were a handful of Albuquerque Dodgers/Dukes.
“I was a (Steve) Garvey guy, a (Ron) Cey guy, and (Dave) Parker, (Willie) Stargell, (Tony) Pena – I’m a Pirate guy,” Satriana said. “I would say my favorite guy back in those days was Steve Garvey. The other guy I liked was Mr. Hustle (aka Pete Rose).
“I was the bullpen catcher – wasn’t technically on the varsity,” he said, but had no problem recalling being with Murphy when the Rams won state titles at Isotopes Park, recalling outfielder Devon Conley’s grand slam and later peg to the plate to nip a La Cueva runner, and then racing from the first base coach’s box to home plate to watch Kris Martinez slide home to win the 2013 title game vs. Sandia.
Through the years, since graduating from CHS, Satriana was an assistant in football and baseball with the Cougars, starting with coaching duties with the CHS frosh in 1985 – only 17 years old and just a few months after snagging his diploma.
“I did seven years of football (with head coach Rex Sewell). I helped (baseball coach Bill) Gracey on volunteer basis. (Current RRPD Officer) John Roskos was our quarterback in the early 90s; he also played linebacker. I was the linebackers coach and John was a sophomore; in his junior year, he decided to go strictly baseball.” (Good move; Roskos went on to play professionally until 2001.)
“I came over to Rio Rancho High School in 2006 with Murphy and I’ve been with him ever since; I helped with football till 2013,” he said, also serving the national pastime with Cibola Little League as a coach – he had later MLB player Blake Swihart on one all-star team – and a board member.
“Doing the little things comes naturally,” Satriana said. “It was not all about the wins and losses, it’s about the lives you impact and how you’re remembered.”
Something Satriana will also remember: being on Murphy’s staff with the late pitching coach, Ray Chavez, and the award he won this year.
“In my speech, I basically said it was an honor, because we were such good friends. (Ray was) not only a great coach but a good friend – we lost him too soon,” Satriana said. “We go way back, doing youth tournaments when I was coaching my kids in youth ball.
“Mine and his name are together once again.”