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Facilities don't benefit new coach at Victoria East

Jan. 19, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 19, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.

Roland Gonzalez, left, shakes hands with Victoria Independent School District board members Lou Svetlik, center, and Michael DiSanto after the board approved the recommendation that he be hired as the new Victoria East High School head football coach. Gonzalez was coaching at Cy-Springs.

Roland Gonzalez drove by the Victoria East campus on the way to Thursday night's meeting of the Victoria school district board of trustees.

But Gonzalez did not stop, and that could have been a blessing.

Gonzalez was named the head football coach and boys athletic coordinator at East by unanimous 7-0 vote of the board of trustees.

When he leaves Cypress Springs to assume his duties at East early in February, he will be greeted by talented athletes, a supportive principal, an enthusiastic fan base and a proactive booster club.

He'll also discover facilities that are not up to the standards of most successful Class 4A programs.

East has the athletes and the numbers, the most important ingredients in building a championship football program.

But giving players a chance to develop and reach their full potential requires unfettered access to the weight room and an adequate place to practice in inclement weather.

Football players at East and Victoria West are hindered in these areas.

Even members of the Victoria school district admit the applicant pool for the head coaching position at East was not as impressive as they would have desired.

This despite one district championship and two playoff appearances under previous coach Mickey Finley in the two years the school has been open.

Successful coaches want to go to programs where they have a chance to win, even if they have no intention of staying more than a few years.

A higher salary would have drawn more candidates. A bigger paycheck makes a coaching job more attractive.

But a salary in what Superintendent Bob Moore said is in the $80,000 range, should not be a major stumbling block.

The facilities are another matter. One coach called them some of the worst of any Class 4A program in the state. This is an exaggeration, but the coach has a point.

The Victoria school district has better facilities than Bay City had when it won its two football state championships, the last coming in 2000.

But Bay City has upgraded its facilities and programs that consistently compete for state titles give their players the tools necessary to compete at a high level when the talent isn't at its peak.

You don't have to go far to find an example. Refugio has an indoor facility that makes the weather a moot point. The Bobcats have been to the state semifinals in football the last three seasons and celebrated a state title last season.

Refugio had the talent to win a state title, but the school district did its part to put the players in the best position to succeed.

Gonzalez put a positive spin on the facilities after the board of trustees meeting.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat," he said. "You make up for deficiencies in one area in other areas. This program will be based on the principals of respect, discipline, commitment and work ethic."

Good intentions, but we know the expression the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Victoria school district teams have won state championships in basketball, baseball and golf.

But no Victoria school district football team has advanced past the semifinals and that happened once.

Gonzalez will be expected to have a successful football program.

The question remains what is the Victoria school district's definition of success.

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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