New Mexico Military Institute announced the hiring of head baseball coach Chris Cook in May 2012. Even with limited time to recruit, the Bronco baseball program saw a transformation in Cook’s first year at the helm. The nine WJCAC victories was only two shy of equaling the number of conference wins in each of the previous three years combined. In addition, the season win total of 18 included a school record 15 wins over junior college opponents.
The program took another step forward in Year 2, with 21 overall victories against junior college programs and 12 WJCAC victories (both new school records). The conference win total in Years 1 and 2 nearly quadrupled the average conference win total of the previous 12 seasons. Offensively, the Broncos were also able to eclipse a school record with 32 home runs on the year. In addition to the school records, several players accomplished significant feats in Years 1 and 2. Both Austin Grier and Joe Galindo earned National Player of the Week honors and Correy Davis broke a school record with 17 doubles while tying a school record with 48 runs.
In Season 3 (2015), the Broncos again broke school records for overall (26) and conference victories (17) while finishing two games out of the NJCAA regional tournament. In addition, another 14 Bronco’s moved on to join four-year college baseball programs. Freshman outfielder Winston Welch broke a school record with 22 doubles, while the pitching staff destroyed the NMMI record books with 13 saves and a strikeout per inning ratio of .923. Overall, the 2015 team found themselves in the top 10 historically in the following categories: slugging, RBIs, hits (No. 1), runs, average, walks, doubles (No. 1), triples, home runs, hit by pitch, strikeouts (No. 1), BB/K (No. 1), strikeouts/inning (No. 1), earned run average, and saves (No. 1).
In Season 4 (2016), the record books were shattered, as the Broncos made an unprecedented run through the WJCAC and on to the NJCAA Region V tournament in Lubbock, Texas. The 28 overall regular season victories and the 22 WJCAC wins broke school records for the third consecutive season. The offense broke nearly every team record in the power categories: home runs (73), doubles (138), slugging percentage (.566), runs (421), and runs batted in (386). Three players were named to the All-Conference team (Justin Felix, Alex Howard, and Carlos Ortiz) with Felix also being named to the All-Region team. The NJCAA Regional berth was the first at NMMI since 1961 (55 years) and the opening round win vs. the No. 3 NJCAA team in the country may be the first regional victory in program history.
NCAA I (21)- Air Force Academy, UNM, NMSU, Northwestern State, UAPB, Army, University of Texas- Pan American, Austin Peay State, Grambling State, EMbry-Riddle Daytona Beach, North Carolina A&T, University of Dayton, & Arkansas State.
“On the field, in the classroom and in the core, these four squads helped to set a high expectation level on campus and in the WJCAC. With a new group of players and some very talented sophomores, we expect to compete every game. We preach constantly about controlling what you can control, and that no one individual can dictate wins and losses. The overall approach and mindset of a team is what gives them a chance to be successful. With the discipline, accountability and physical strength that come with being a student at NMMI, we will look again for this group to elevate the expectation level for Bronco Baseball.”
This fall, Cook will begin his fifth season leading the Bronco baseball program and his 19th overall at the collegiate level. Prior to NMMI, Cook had spent over half his career at the NCAA I level, including a 6 year stretch (06-12) as an assistant at Arkansas State University.
At ASU, Cook served as recruiting coordinator in addition to coaching infielders and hitters. Cook was a part of some of the most exciting moments in ASU baseball program history. By winning two games at each of the last three conference tournaments, the Red Wolves were able to accomplish something in three consecutive years that had not been done even once since 1997. Only two SBC teams won more SBC tournament games during Cook’s last three seasons at Arkansas State.
The 2012 team led the Sun Belt Conference in victories (19) and battled to the conference tournament championship game. The 34 season victories ranks fourth all time and had not been accomplished for 15 years. Also in 2012, Cook assisted the defense to an ASU team record .973 fielding percentage. During the 2011 campaign, Cook helped the hitters achieve top 10 all time team statistics in runs, hits, RBI, walks and fielding percentage. In 2010, Cook helped the Red Wolves improve to a .312 team batting average that currently ranks second in team history. The Red Wolves also boasted a school record 647 hits. In 2009, Cook helped coach the Red Wolves to a team batting average of .296, which ranks fourth all-time in ASU history. Arkansas State belted out 557 hits with 242 walks, 337 runs, 291 RBI, and 242 walks, all ranking in ASU’s top 10 all time team statistics.
Cook came to Arkansas State after serving as an assistant for one season at Austin Peay State, where he coached current Bronco pitching coach Rowdy Hardy. Prior to his experience at Austin Peay, Cook spent three seasons as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., where he led the Bearcats to one of the top team ERAs in Division II baseball. Cook was part of a coaching staff that led Lander to a spot in the NCAA Division II National Poll each season, including a ranking of seventh nationally in 2005.
In his career, Cook has coached more than 60 players who have gone on to play professional baseball, including the first five Lander players to ever play professional baseball and another five who have made it to the Major Leagues. Cook has also assisted in recruiting three nationally ranked recruiting classes, the 2003 Winthrop incoming class, and each of the 2007 and 2009 ASU recruiting classes. Before coaching at Lander, Cook held coaching positions at Winthrop University, Collin County (Texas) Community College and at his alma mater, Rockford College. Cook also spent two summers as a head coach in the Coastal Plain League, one as head coach of the division champion Durham Americans and the second as head coach of the Wilson Tobs.
Cook earned his Business Administration and Marketing degree at Rockford College. He is married to the former Wendy Mazan, who works as the Marketing and Community Relations Manager for Comfort Keepers of Roswell. They have a daughter, Julianna, born March 21, 2009.
Jermain Van Buren Assistant Coach | Pitching
Jermain Van Buren
Assistant Coach | Pitching
Jermaine Van Buren will be the new pitching coach on staff. Van Buren comes to NMMI with over 12 years in professional baseball, two years in the Major LB. For the past seven years he has been building one the top select baseball programs in Amarillo, Texas, helping to send over 200 kids to college while building relationships with coaches and other organizations along the way. Van Buren comes to New Mexico Military Institute with many years of baseball knowledge with exceptional mentors that have helped him gain ground in the game.
“I’m excited to announce the hiring of Jermaine Van Buren as our new Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator,” said coach Cook. “As a head coach I’m not just looking to bring coaches on staff to improve the players – I want people that will also help me become a better coach. I said that to my team when introducing coach Van Buren in our first team meeting of the year, and I stand by that today. Coach Van Buren will be a tremendous asset to this program with his experience, energy, recruiting connections, and his overall positive attitude and love of the game. Although he will rarely mention his own personal accolades and baseball accomplishments, it’s no secret that he has an impressive baseball background. That background combined with his high passion for the game, and desire to develop players, will amplify our program. We are lucky to have him in our program and I look forward to working with him here at NMMI”.
Jermaine Van Buren has been married to Tiffany Van Buren for 11 years; they have four kids total, Jermaine 19, Jaiden 16, Lara 9, and Karis who is almost 1 year old. His family resides in Amarillo, TX where they have called home for the past seven years.
In high school, Van Buren played for the Hattiesburg High School Tigers (Miss). His senior season they were ranked the #10 high school team in the nation and won the Mississippi Class 5A State Championship title. Jermaine was named Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year, breaking a school record with a .86 ERA, 13 wins, and 162 strikeouts.
After graduating high school, Van Buren was picked in the 2nd round of 98’ draft by the Colorado Rockies. While playing for the Arizona Rockies, Van Buren won the Arizona League’s Triple Crown award and also helped them win a league championship.
In 2004-2005, he led the league in saves while pitching for the AAA Iowa Cubs. In 2007, he recorded the last out to win the Pacific Coast League’s AAA championship with the Sacramento River Cats. He was named to All-Star teams in 1998, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009.
Van Buren had two brief stints in the Major League: his first call up being with the Chicago Cubs in 2005 and again in 2006 with the Boston Red Sox. During the 2006 season, while pitching in the old Yankee Stadium and floating between MLB Boston and AAA Pawtucket, Van Buren led the AAA affiliate in saves.
Van Buren has also experienced many different cultures during his professional career – logging playing time in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan. In 2008 he was the saves leader for Taiwan’s La New Bears team in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, earning Closer of the Year honors and a new nickname: ‘ The Big Bear.’
“I am humbled to have the opportunity to continue my coaching career and teach the game of baseball to kids that have the heart and fight to go out and win each day,” said Coach Van Buren. “I am grateful for the opportunity from Coach Cook and excited to help put my stamp on a program that is pushing the excellence envelope each day. I would just like to see each kid get what he wants out of the program and see them excel in life.”
Assistant Coach | Outfielders & Offense
Angel Peguero (NMMI 2014) begins his second season as an assistant for the Bronco’s after finishing his collegiate playing career at NCAA I Grambling State University. Peguero was a two year starter for the Bronco’s and GSU.
Peguero will work with the outfielders and assist with the Bronco offense.
Quote from Coach Cook- “I was very excited when I learned that Coach Peguero was interested in coming back to his alma mater to be an assistant coach. He was one of the most positive players I’ve had the pleasure to coach, and his ability to relate to players will have a huge impact on this program. Having spent two years in our system and two additional years at the NCAA I level, he understands the college game and maybe more importantly, he understands what it takes to be successful here at NMMI. In addition to his outfield, hitting, and base-coaching responsibilities, Angel will be a big asset with our alumni relations and player recruiting.”
Assistant Coach | Pitchers & Catchers
NMMI head coach Chris Cook has hired former cadet and player Devin Hubbard as an assistant coach. Hubbard played for NMMI from 2013 to 2015 before attending Benedictine College and playing under head coach Anthony Everman for the past two seasons. At NMMI Hubbard carried a 3.0 GPA and was a productive member of the corps of cadets. Hubbard is currently finishing his degree at Eastern New Mexico, where he is studying secondary education, with focuses in history and physical education.
Hubbard, A native of Roswell, New Mexico graduated from Goddard High School before attending NMMI. There he was an All-District Selection as a left handed pitcher. He will help the NMMI team and coaching staff with Pitching and Catching.
Quote from Coach Cook- “This summer, in search of an additional assistant coach, it became clear that I needed to bring Devin on board. Like Coach Peguero, Hubbard played two years for me here at the Institute after graduating from Goddard High School. He’s very knowledgeable about the game of baseball and is hungry to learn and help make players better. I expect him to contribute to many different aspects of the program including team defense, pitching, recruiting, and alumni relations.”