Moving on Up

Darren Chandler hired as Deer Park Athletic Director

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for Darren Chandler. Vype

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for Deer Park boys basketball coach Darren Chandler.

First, Chandler is not even a month removed from leading Deer Park boys basketball on its deepest playoff run in 40 years, reaching the Regional Tournament.

Now the 15-year head coach is getting to do something he has wanted to do for a while now – serve as an athletic director.

On Monday, Chandler was officially hired as the next Deer Park ISD Athletic Director replacing the retiring Jerry Creel.

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Chandler said.  “It’s hard to believe. First of all I’m going to miss the heck out of coaching. The day-to-day interaction with  the athletes and I love the teaching part of the job too. But being the athletic director that’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. The opportunity presented itself in a great district, a one high school town with a 6A school.

“It’s just a dream job.”

Chandler will work with Creel for the next few months until fully taking over on July 1.

Chandler exits a Deer Park basketball program which got progressively better each year under his guidance.

In his first season, 2014-2015, the Deer won just eight games. This last season, the Deer racked up 30 wins and reached the Region III-6A Semifinals. Chandler leaves with a record of 75-60 in four years as the head coach of Deer Park.

Chandler has been in coaching for 22 years and 15 as a head coach. The last four have been as the head coach of Deer Park.

Accepting this job feels like his career has come full circle, Chandler said because he started his coaching career with Deer Park ISD in 1994 as an assistant coach at Bonnette Junior High.

Chandler graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1994.

VYPE Houston caught up with Chandler on Tuesday afternoon. Listen below to the entire interview with the new Athletic Director of Deer Park ISD.


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Willson Contreras could give the Astros some extra pop in the lineup. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

“The Hot Stove League” is the nickname given to Major League Baseball's offseason. In particular, the free agent signing period in late November/early December. Trades are also made during this period. Now that Astros' owner Jim Crane has ousted all opposition to his idea of how things should be run, he's free to do things the way he sees fit.

He opened it by not hiring a general manager to replace James Click. Instead, he opted for a committee of assistant GMs. Those guys are assisted by some special advisors, like former Astros great Jeff Bagwell. Crane likes and wants to take a big swing at things. He'd probably hit about .250 with 30-plus home runs every season. Can't leave out his guaranteed 80-100 strikeouts. Typical power hitter. It's all or nothing, except Crane has been making great contact and knocking some things out of the park.

Signing Jose Abreu was an example. Yuli Gurriel looked as if he was losing the battle with “Father Time” during the regular season. This was an insurance policy at first, and designated hitter. Another prime example is their reported interest in C/DH/LF Willson Contreras. His bat would be a major upgrade over past Astro catchers. Although Martin Maldonado may not be going anywhere, having a quality bat to relieve him is key. Add the fact that he plays some outfield, and he's almost a “two birds with one stone” type of signing.

Abreu may be 35 years old, but he's coming off a year hitting .304 with 15 home runs. Contreras may be the younger of the two at 30, but his .243 average hurts the fact that he hit 22 home runs. Both sport an OPS above .800 for their careers. Bagwell said he wants Yordan Alvarez to play left field 45% of the time. The other 55% can be Contreras, Chas McCormick (assuming Jake Meyers is still in the mix for center field), and whoever else they sign or bring up from Sugar Land. When Contreras isn't in left, he needs to be behind the plate or hitting DH. I'd really love the idea of him sitting under Maldonado's learning tree for a year and taking over catcher long-term. Not many can be the catcher "Machete" is, but hitting 50 points better than him has its advantages.

Then there's the reported interest other teams have in Justin Verlander. Supposedly, the Mets have met with him via Zoom. The Dodgers are interested and are seemingly the leaders in the clubhouse to sign him. However, I wouldn't count Crane and crew out. He may come to JV last minute and offer him something comparable in order to keep him around. He strikes me as the type of guy who'll keep his plays close to the vest, then make a Godfather type of offer. He negotiated Verlander's last deal with the team himself. Coming off a World Series win, Cy Young win, and opting out of said deal, Verlander is most likely looking to get one final payday that'll also land him on a contender.

Having a winner is one thing. Having a winner committed to winning long-term is another. Crane wants to strike while the iron is hot. Sure, he wants his franchise to be sustainable. But he also wants to keep the World Series window open as long as possible. Kyle Tucker's next deal will be one to watch. Having an embarrassment of riches on the pitching staff means you have trade bait. Keep an eye on old Jimmy Crane. I think he might be the best thing to hit Houston sports in quite some time.

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