By: JOHN CANNON
(DONNA) – While working with former head boys’ basketball coach Zeke Rodriguez at Donna High, first assistant Manuel Epperson said he definitely learned a lot from him.
“Zeke definitely taught me a lot of things and I will always be thankful for that,” said Epperson. Everything Epperson learned from Rodriguez will now come into play as he was named the new head boys basketball coach for the Redskins. Epperson takes over for Rodriguez as he stepped down after the 2015-16 season ended. Rodriguez took the job at Donna High in 2011 and held it until he stepped down.
Epperson and Rodriguez build the Donna High boys’ basketball program into a powerhouse and even led them to a district title in 2015 which is something that hasn’t happened in over 45 years.
“We were able to do some great things here at Donna High for the boys basketball program and even brought home a title for the first time in 45 years,” said Epperson. “Zeke and I built a nice little tradition here and now that I am the head coach, I plan on keeping that tradition going.”
Epperson is no stranger to being a head coach as he was in charge of the boys’ basketball program at Mercedes High School from 2005 through 2007. Prior to that, Epperson was the assistant boys coach for the Tigers from 2002 through 2004.
Epperson now steps in and will be a part of a rebuilding process for the Redskins this coming year.
And even though Donna High will be fairly young, Epperson feels his team will be competitive.
“We only have Joel Ramirez and Anthony Moreno coming back from last year. With that said, we are going to be young,” said Epperson. “And even though we will have a lot of new kids playing on the varsity this year, these kids know about the tradition that’s been instilled in this program and that they need to step up and play hard each and every night.”
“Also I plan on keeping things the same way coach Rodriguez did which should help the kids adjust. Don’t get me wrong, I will add a few little tweaks here and there. But I will go by the old adages that if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.”
Epperson wanted to make sure to give thanks to everyone who made this opportunity possible.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Coach Rodriguez for molding me and making me a better coach,” said Epperson. “Also, I want to thank athletic coordinator Ramiro Leal, athletic director Manny Moreno and the entire administration for making this opportunity possible.”
“This is a dream come true and I want to do everything I can to keep the program going in the right direction just as Zeke did while he was here.”