La Feria News

‘Coach V’ calls it a career after 37 years with LFISD

Longtime La Feria ISD coach Tommy Villarreal retired this past school year after 37 years. A celebration parade was held for him on June 25 at W.B. Green Junior High School. Photos: Billy Watson / LFN

By BILLY WATSON
LFN

LA FERIA – Some of the many phrases longtime W.B. Green Junior High coach Tommy Villarreal could be heard saying over the years were things like: “Atta boy!” “Can’t catch a cold on a cold winter night.” “Put it in the breadbasket!” and “No, no. On me.”

Unfortunately, La Feria ISD athletes will no longer be hearing Coach Villarreal shout such expressions as he officially retired this past school year after 37 years with the school district.

The district honored Villarreal with a retirement parade on June 25. The procession traveled around W.B. Green, where many cars waved and cheered for one of the most lovable coaches to ever grace LFISD.

Throughout his 37 years at the school district, Villarreal was a physical education teacher at the middle school as well as the head coach of the junior high’s athletic program. In addition, he coached the long and triple jumpers for the high school track team and helped send many athletes to regionals. He even coached on Friday nights as a member of the La Feria Lions varsity football team.

Now that Villarreal is retired, he has his daily routine of walking nine miles a day and enjoying being the “at-home” person. If his wife needs anything, he offers to go anywhere and everywhere because he said she deserves it.
“Now that I’m done, I wake up in the morning and do my walking,”

Villarreal said. “I don’t have to be in a hurry because I don’t have deadlines or anything. I got nothing but time. I got no one to report to; I report to myself, and my wife’s there (too).”

Former athletes had nothing but generous and memorable things to say about Coach Villarreal or “Coach V” as every referred to him as.
Villarreal said it is great that everyone appreciates what he has done for them.

“When you hear stuff like that, it makes you feel inside,” Villarreal said. “And I’ve gotten a lot of kids, older kids, not kids that just graduated, but 10, 15, 20 years down the road that say, ‘Hey, Coach, I remember when you did this for me, and I thank you.’”

Villarreal won a substantial amount of district championships at the middle school all with football, basketball, and track and field. He said it got to the point where winning was just winning, and so what? He decided to help kids out and give them pointers for the betterment of their future.

“I tried to help these kids out anyway I could,” Villarreal said, “because I appreciate the talent that I was given. A lot of times I see myself as, ‘OK, Coach, because you’re a good athlete, you turned around to become a great coach, and now you’ve become like a counselor, so to speak, to these kids, and to try to instill something positive where they can become better or do something for themselves.’ Something positive for themselves, and that’s pretty much what I like to do to these kids.”

Villarreal has even gotten positive words from parents over the years. He said those, too, are what make him realize he did a good job as a coach.

“People come and tell me, ‘Coach, I remember when my son (or my daughter) said this about you, and they always looked up to you,’” Villarreal said. “They had nothing negative to say about your program. When I get comments like that coming from the parents and kids, I must have done something right, and that made me feel good. So, I’m leaving here knowing that I taught somebody.”

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