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GC: Top 5 Coaches of the Golden Crescent

By Jessica Rodrigo
Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.


By Jessica Rodrigo/jrodrigo@vicad.com

Randy Perez

As the athletic director for Bloomington Independent School District, Randy Perez is working toward building the athletic department into a stronger unit.

As a child, his father was a successful football coach, and he had many family members who worked in the education field.

During his 17-month stint at Bloomington, he has overseen seventh- to 12th-grade athletes. He is in charge of all the behind-the-scenes activities, including budget, booking transportation for games and sometimes laundry. When he started, the field house was being built from the ground up, and he felt that there was a lot of opportunity for growth.

"I enjoyed my coaches and got a lot out of them and felt like they helped me develop into who I am," he said. "I wanted to do the same thing for young men."

Before he came to Bloomington ISD, he served as the assistant athletic director at Ray High School in Corpus Christi. He saw the start of a movement at BISD and plans to make changes for the better.

Family: Wife, Krista, married 19 years. Children, Caleb, 20; Caly, 18; and Corbin, 14.

What is your school of thought or philosophy that you follow when coaching or training young athletes?

Everyone can contribute something positive to the program as long as they are willing to work and be coachable.

Who do you model your coaching style after?

My dad, who was a coach for 30-plus years. He always looked poised and in control.

What was the greatest memory you have in your career?

Winning our first game of the year. Watching the kids enjoy the victory was awesome. I don't really have one that is better than the other, but what I really enjoy is seeing athletes who I have coached in the past come back, and they are: 1 - happy with who they are and 2 - responsible for what they're doing.

How do you inspire or motivate your team before a game or during practice?

I always talk to them about going full-speed and taking care of the little things. I want each athlete to have an invested interest in what we are doing and what we need to accomplish. I try to motivate our athletes on a daily basis and get them to understand the importance of their role on the team. I also will use analogies that they can relate to.

If you could meet one person in the history of sports, past or present, who would it be and why?

John Wooden or Vince Lombardi. To me they represent the best of coaching. Each one could inspire his athletes to achieve beyond expectations.

Russell Moya

Russell Moya's love for the game started when he was 6 or 7 years old, watching the Refugio Bobcats from the sidelines as the waterboy.

"I always wanted to be involved," he said. "Then in seventh and eighth grade I started playing, and all through high school."

Moya has been a part of Crossroads Youth Football League since his now-16-year-old son, Derek, started playing football when he was 6. Since then, he has had the pleasure of working with 6- and 7-year-old boys and older. During some practices, the different age groups will integrate and practice plays, tackling one another.

As a full-time consultant for the oil-and-gas industry, he stays busy volunteering time to his sons and his team. When football season is over, he is still busy working, serving on the board with his Little League team and also coaches basketball. "I love this," he said. "I'd rather be out here coaching."

Family: Wife, Jennifer, married 17 years. Three sons, Derek, 15; Logan, 12 and Kason, 7.

What is your school of thought or philosophy that you follow when coaching or training young athletes?

"Practice makes perfect."

My philosophy is that with discipline, teamwork and a hard day of practice, you will come out ahead - champions on and off the field. An athlete must know how to win and lose. You must know how to keep your composure at the time of defeat and practice harder for the next challenge that life brings upon you.

When you're not practicing, somebody is practicing to beat you. There is no such thing as I CAN'T + YOU WILL = FOCUS.

Who do you model your coaching style after?

I model after Manny Diaz, Texas defense coordinator. He is a family man and puts Christ first in his life. He is hard on the field and takes care of business in tight situations of the game, respecting the game and life every day.

What was the greatest memory you have in your career?

To see that kid that never hit the ball, hit that ball and make a home run. That game was better than winning any championship. There is nothing like a kid who played for you in youth league, coming to you in high school and asking you what to do to get better. I go to high school games and sit in the bleachers. Some of my old players turn and look back and say, "Watch me, coach." That's what I live for.

How do you inspire or motivate your team before a game or during practice?

I tell them, what I show you in practice, use it. The long days of yelling and sweating and crying to mamas are over - let's do our thing and represent ourselves as winners not losers - and a prayer to get started. I always cook at practice to reward them, and I make my days fun and full of challenges to get stronger. I stress the most important thing is the grades at school. I have moms that come to me to correct their child, even kids who played for me in the past.

If you could meet one person in the history of sports, past or present, who would it be and why?

If I could meet one person in sports history, it would Oscar De La Hoya. I would like to sit down with him and visit over a good meal and talk to him about that Mayweather vs. Ortiz fight.

David Hartman

On top of working as co-owner and vice president of marketing for Hartman Distributing Company, David Hartman, spends a lot of time on the field.

"As soon as I started coaching, I fell in love with it immediately," he said of his beginnings. "To me, there is nothing in the world cooler than a kid calling you coach."

For Hartman, the word "coach" is a term of endearment and a title that means a great deal to him. Having been involved with Crossroads Youth Football for 12 of the 13 years running, he has seen a number of his players grow up to start their careers and families.

He added that coaching with CYFL may be a volunteer position, but it takes a lot of time and dedication. The bulk of his season usually begins in May up until the first game, which includes fitting the players for gear and having coaches participate in training courses to ensure a safe game.

As coach of the Senior Tigercats, he works with 10- to 12-year-old boys and says that one of the most rewarding parts of the game is seeing repeat players. "It's how I gauge success, seeing the same players come back and play for the same team," he said.

Family: Wife, Marla, married 18 years. Children, son Kyle, 17; stepdaughter Lindsey, 31; granddaughter Jordyn, 3; and granddaughter Sydney, 2.

What is your school of thought or philosophy that you follow when coaching or training young athletes?

I have the privilege of coaching young athletes who are really experiencing their first taste of hard work, commitment and accountability as it relates both to sports and in life. Winning and competing are important, but striving to win and giving both the game and your team everything you have is even more important, regardless of the outcome or score. The most important lesson we try to impart to our kids is that attitude and effort are always the two things they are in control of, whether that's in the classroom, on the field or anything else they are involved in - and that those two character traits are often the difference between success or failure or a task being considered work or having fun.

Who do you model your coaching style after?

I've been fortunate to have spent some time with some great high school coaches and teachers of the game who have honestly forgotten more about the game than I am likely to ever know, like Jerry Campbell, Alan Weddell, Bob Gillis, Harry McCluskey, Mark Reeve and Dean DeAtley. I have also admired and have a great deal of respect for the way John Wooden, Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, Jon Gruden, Bobby Bowden, Mack Brown and Mike Krzyzewski approached teaching the game in their own ways at the collegiate and professional levels of play.

What was the greatest memory you have in your career?

A couple of years ago, we were down 26-6 at the half when my son, Kyle, who was filming our games for us that season, came down to the field without my knowledge and gave an impromptu speech to our kids and coaches, reminding them of all the hard work we had put in together as a team. Our kids responded in the second half, eventually winning the game 41-26 that day. That comeback is something I will always remember and will likely never experience anything quite like it again, no matter how long I am able to coach.

How do you inspire or motivate your team before a game or during practice?

As coaches, we try to determine what motivates each individual best, within the context of our sport. We award helmet stickers for on-field play during practice and games, as well as, for performance and effort in the classroom. We want to encourage kids who are doing well in school to keep doing well, but really try to focus on getting our kids who do not enjoy school or don't see a reason for going, to show consistent improvement in effort and better grades.

If you could meet one person in the history of sports, past or present, who would it be and why?

Probably a toss up between Vince Lombardi and John Wooden. Vince Lombardi embodied so many of the principles that modern-day coaches try to embody in our players and really seemed like he would be an absolutely fascinating character study. John Wooden, arguably the most successful coach ever in any sport, while seemingly a polar opposite to Lombardi, taught many of the same attributes and had the same expectations of his players that Lombardi did, only their approach in finding a way to reach their audience differed.

Phallon Crawford

When Memorial High School split into East and West High Schools, Phallon Crawford made her way to West after a five-year career. While at Memorial, she served as the assistant cheer coach and is now in her second year with the West squad.

She said that after receiving her Bachelor's of Science in biomedical science, she got certified to teach and started her career here in Victoria.

As the cheer coach, a lot of what she teaches her girls is what she was taught when she was a cheerleader in junior high and high school.

"What I teach the girls is that we work as a family unit, and that everybody may not be happy with everyone every day, but in the long run, we all walk away looking out for each other," she said.

Under Crawford's instruction, the West High School squad attended UCA camp and placed first in pom-pom and extreme routine competitions.

In addition to teaching science curriculum at West, Crawford says there is a lot of time to put into the job.

"I knew that I wanted to coach, eventually," she said. "It was a natural fit, I was a gymnast and a cheerleader when I was younger."

Family: Partner, Jeromy Neitch, 7 years. Stepdaughter, Elizabeth Neitch, 13.

What is your school of thought or philosophy that you follow when coaching or training young athletes?

I believe that every team needs to determine its core values. My cheerleaders are expected to exemplify spirit, leadership, loyalty and respect. Above all else, heart is the most important. An athlete must be committed with 100 percent of his or her heart. After that, talent, technique and practice all fall into place easily. Without heart, the parts will never adequately interact to have a successful team. I attempt to have a warm heart and a firm demeanor.

Who do you model your coaching style after?

I model my coaching style in large part after my cheer coach at Copperas Cove High School, Mrs. Merriweather. There are hints of other influential teachers, coaches and colleagues in my practices as well. I believe that it is important to always adapt my technique to the situation and do what I can to emulate the best of my mentors.

What was the greatest memory you have in your career?

The happy tears after placing first in WSA Nationals and Redline Nationals, despite a year of extreme change and adversity.

And receiving the news that an especially dedicated cheerleader and role model achieved his goal of making his college squad and him sharing credit with me as playing a role in his achievement.

How do you inspire or motivate your team before a game or during practice?

My approach from day to day changes to meet the needs of the squad. Like any coach, I am often loud and firm. When all is said and done, I make it known that I adore my cheerleaders and want the best for them on and off the mat. I believe that actions speak much louder than words and dedicate my heart, time, and energy right alongside the cheerleaders, mascots and managers, who choose to dedicate themselves to the program.

If you could meet one person in the history of sports, past or present, who would it be and why?

I think it would be amazing to meet Johnny Campbell, who is one of the first yell leaders and is credited with the birth of cheerleading, to get a feel for the original spirit with which our modern sport was born. I would also like to meet Texan Lawrence Herkimer of the National Cheerleaders Association and Jeff Webb of the Universal Cheerleaders Association, as they are responsible for developing the discipline, training and much of the acrobatics that make modern cheerleading a sport.

Charlie McGarity

Charlie McGarity started coaching when his son Cody was just 3 years old. At the time, McGarity was a non-parent volunteer and was in charge of toting the kids around for games with one of the local leagues. He then moved on to boys' Little League and has built himself a reputation with girls' softball.

In 1999, Texas Trouble Softball Club came to fruition, with the help of McGarity.

According to the girl's softball coach, the league is dedicated to the betterment of its athletes and helping them pursue opportunities brought to them by the sport.

"A lot of our girls want to get better for high school and some for college," he said. "When the kids do it for the right reasons, it's just fun."

McGarity, an emergency supervisor with Enterprise Products, volunteers his time to help the girls perfect their skills from ages 9 to 18. He was recently recognized by the Amateur Softball Association for his 10 years of volunteer work.

Family: Wife, Stacy Ann Alexander, married 32 years. Three children, Cody, 28; Alyson, 25; and Kelsey, 22.

What is your school of thought or philosophy that you follow when coaching or training young athletes?

I want my players to feel the sense of urgency, that now is the time to do the things needed to achieve the long-term goals of life. I want them to respect the game and all that is associated with it. I want them to understand that if they are not willing to put the work in to achieve their goals, they honestly can't expect good results when asked to perform. For example, If a kid does not follow her assigned hitting workout, she should not be surprised when she fails at the plate.

Who do you model your coaching style after?

Former Rice track star and Victoria High School track Coach Zoe Simpson and former baseball and softball Head Coach Wayne Stewart. Both expected their athletes to have self-discipline and be unselfish for the good of the team.

What was the greatest memory you have in your career?

Besides winning two state championships, it would be finishing third at state in 2003 when, because of rain delays, our 14U girls literally had to stay awake and play throughout the night to finally be eliminated at 10:30 the next morning.

How do you inspire or motivate your team before a game or during practice?

I am honest with them and tell them as much about their opponent as we know. I ask them to have fun and remember that it is just a game. I encourage them to stay within themselves and not to press. I challenge them to play up to the next level and above all play with heart.

If you could meet one person in the history of sports, past or present, who would it be and why?

Lou Gehrig, greatest natural hitter of all time.

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