Matt Alvarez does a lot more than coach Renegade kickers

Kyle Cortez, Managing Editor

Matt Alvarez has been the kicking coach at BC since 2010, but he’s more than just your average kicking coach. Alvarez graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010, but he hasn’t exactly been using the degree for his current job.

Alvarez is 29 years old and is currently a deputy with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and works in the Kern River Valley area.

“Besides doing the occasional high school football broadcast, besides helping out at CSUB with their sporting events announcing-wise, I do nothing that has to do with journalism,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez’s dad was the kicking coach at BC for about 25 years before Matt decided that he wanted to step in and help coach. Alvarez played football in high school and college, and he said that he knew he wasn’t good enough to make it to the NFL. He lost a passion for playing, but he saw how much fun his dad was having coaching.

“He almost made a career out of it since he did it for so long. I saw the enjoyment that he got out of it. I was able to go down on the sidelines with him when I was a kid and in high school. I was on the sidelines for a lot of BC games and I developed a passion for coaching,” said Alvarez. “I want to see people succeed, not only on the field but off the field as well. I figured the best way to do that would be to study under my dad and listen to what he did and watch what he did. Becoming a coach was a way that I felt that I could help mentor these 18 and 19 year old kids fresh out of high school; as well as help them succeed and hopefully get them college scholarships, which is my main goal.”

Alvarez’s proudest moment as a coach was back in 2012 when BC won the State Championship. He said that the work ethic from that team went through the roof when they started 2-2, and they turned their season around.

“Just seeing the joy and happiness. Seeing 16,000 people in the crowd. Seeing the happiness of everyone on the sidelines. All the season ticket holders that have been there, my parents, and all my friends that came to the game. It was just an unreal experience. To be in that group huddle with coach [Jeff] Chudy when he was giving the postgame speech, that made me proud to be a coach. That’s the most proud I’ve ever been as a coach; to win the State Championship on our home field,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez believes that being in law enforcement has helped him with his leadership skills while he’s coaching. He said that you have to be in control of a situation in law enforcement and that’s allowed him to communicate with his kicker or punter.

“You show up to a call and you have to be the guy who fixes the situation. That’s why you get called because people need help or there’s a situation that needs to be handled,” said Alvarez. “I’m able to apply those lessons learned in law enforcement to coaching because I show up to practice and I maybe see my kicker taking his swings wrong or maybe he’s doing something that I can fix; I need to instill in him that I know what I’m talking about and know what I’m doing. It’s the leadership qualities that I take from law enforcement and I apply them to coaching.”

Alvarez said he got into law enforcement because his dad was part of the Bakersfield Police Department for 15 years and that the academy applications were open.

“I was about to take a job with the University of Memphis in their Sports Information Department, but my dad told me that the academy applications were open so I put in an application. I never really wanted to be a cop. I just thought it would be a great way to start a career at 25 years old and it was. It was probably the best decision that I’ve ever made. I want to help people, I want to fix problems, and I want to fix situations. I’ve always been a guy that all my friends could come to when they needed advice or when they needed help or when they had questions. It’s like I’m living in a dream. I get paid to do what I love,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez has been working for the Sheriff’s Department for a little over four years and he says that he works in an area that is very pro-law enforcement. He says that they care deeply about their community and that they try to take care of most of their problems on their own.

“My job is to just fix whatever problems they might have, whether that be taking somebody to jail, writing somebody a ticket, or just diffusing a situation to where I can be the mediator in an argument, but that’s anywhere,” said Alvarez. “I’m lucky to work in a community like Kern River Valley, the people up there are very pro-law enforcement and they help us out a lot.”

Alvarez says that his favorite part of his job is that people in the Kern River Valley love law enforcement and are very kind to them.

“People love you. People will wave to you. Kids will come up and ask you for a sticker. Kids will shake your hand and want to take pictures with you. You’re like a celebrity up there. It’s such a great feeling to know that the people up there are raising their kids right and that the people up there have a true appreciation for what you do,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez was working on the Erskine Fire that broke out in the Lake Isabella area and helped people evacuate that were living in that area. He said that he had barely been working in the Kern River Valley for about two weeks before the fire started.

“Rounding the corner toward Mountain Mesa, I just saw a thick blanket of smoke. Driving through smoke, driving through the fire, seeing fire on both sides of the road, and your car just heats up. You can just feel the heat. It’s an unreal feeling, but I had to get through to the other side. It was a team effort though, all of my partners were doing the exact same thing, it wasn’t just me. I’ve never experienced anything scarier in my life. The most scared I’ve ever been, was driving into that cloud of smoke and not knowing if I was going to come out on the other side. I give credit to all my partners and all the firefighters that helped that day and the days after,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez had some advice for anyone who’s thinking about maybe going into law enforcement.

“It’s a rush. It’s 90 percent boring and 10 percent just pure adrenaline, the biggest rush you’ve ever had in your entire life. You have to be patient and ready for anything. Don’t go in looking to change the world. You have a job to do and you’re going to be called upon to do things you would’ve never envisioned doing in your entire life. You’re going to be called to do things that you haven’t even be trained to do and you’re going to have to think on your feet,” said Alvarez. “For someone wanting to go into law enforcement, it’s a great profession, it’s fun, it’s scary, it’s an adrenaline rush, but it’s also a serious job. People are really depending on you to help with whatever problem they may have. So go into it with an open mind and don’t ever give up the fight.”