Mares leaving St. Joseph for position at Goliad
May 28, 2010 at 12:28 a.m.
John Mares' ties to St. Joseph run deep.
Mares played football and graduated from high school at St. Joseph in 1969.
He has coached at his alma mater for the past 20 years - the last 14 as the as the athletic director and head football coach.
But Mares' tenure at St. Joseph came to an end Friday.
Mares resigned as the school's athletic director and head football coach to become the head baseball coach and an assistant football coach at Goliad.
"This wasn't an easy decision," Mares said. "There were a lot of twix and tweens. It was a family decision. It was just the right time."
Mares, 59, came to St. Joseph from Goliad where he was the head baseball coach and defensive coordinator from 1986 to 1991.
Mares owns a ranch in Goliad County and was a finalist to become the school's athletic director and head football coach earlier this month before Marc Cunningham got the job.
Mares said he spoke with Cunningham recently and is looking forward to joining his staff.
"I had real good conversation with coach Cunningham and we hit it off," Mares said. "We've packed up and we're moving down the road."
Mares leaves St. Joseph as the winningest football coach in school history. He surpassed Steve Tibiletti's win total during the 2009 season.
Mares had a 108-49 record at St. Joseph that included 11 playoffs appearances.
Mares led the Flyers to the semifinals four times and the state final in 2002.
He was also the school's head basketball coach for four seasons from 1991 to 1995 and had 60-58 record that included three playoff appearances.
"The 20 years I spent here have been real good years," Mares said. "The St. Joseph family has been good to me. The football people have been good to me. I really enjoyed my time here."
Mares told the St. Joseph athletes of his decision Friday after they had taken their last final exam.
"We were all pretty surprised. It kind of came out of left field," said junior Hayden Vesely, who led the Advocate-area in interceptions last season. "He was a good coach and a good guy to have around.
"He was a great motivator. He knew when to be serious and when to joke around. We were so used to having him around that to see him leave is pretty sad."
Mares began his coaching career at Calhoun, where he was the junior high coordinator and he spent two seasons coaching at Hallettsville Sacred Heart.
Mares led Goliad to the baseball playoffs in four of his five seasons and is excited about rejoining the Tigers' staff.
"Goliad has great new facilities and they have high expectations," Mares said. "I have high expectations of my own."
Attempts to contact St. Joseph President William McArdle for comment on Mares' resignation and the school's plans to replace him were unsuccessful.
Vesely knows next season will be a completely different experience for the Flyers.
"We're moving up in classification, we're losing people and coach Mares will be gone," Vesely said. "It will be hard. But whoever they bring in we have to respect them and keep on playing."