So tonight I read on a not-so trustworthy Facebook page that Lalo Rios, Vela’s basketball coach, had resigned.
I have known Lalo for over a decade, playing hoops with him on the weekend and also from coaching, and his resignation is a shock.
I knew Lalo when he was at Economedes, losing games, and rolling with it, making the playoffs one year,waiting for a chance to make his mark.
He got his chance at Vela and turned a new program into the best program in the RGV.
This year his team was one of the best teams in the valley and posted a great record until it was realized that a player moved out of Vela’s zone, leading to his team having to forfeit games.
I could cover the forfeitures again, but it’s not necessary. Everyone has been talking about it all week.
Did Lalo Rios mess up? Yes.
Was it a major infraction? Well, I think that if it were any other team Lalo would be fine.
However, because Rios is coaching at Vela, where most of the affluent families in Edinburg send their kids, the pressure is high. Parents have more access and influence on the political game. Any scandal could incite the fan base.
Vela has survived numerous issues that have plagued the school. From miscalculations on grades for the valedictorian, to vandalism and other things in between, this became the stain that Vela’s community couldn’t live with.
On social media, parents were calling for his head, wanting him gone. This was an Edinburg star made good. Someone who went to UTPA, played professional basketball, and then led his team to the semifinals of the state playoffs.
How was Lalo Rios’ story not celebrated more?
I think that for some reason, someone in Edinburg’s administration leaked this to a so-called media outlet. That outlet took swipes at Lalo, calling him flamboyant.
While his coaching staff resembles the end Monmouth’s bench, jumping around, high fiving each other, Lalo is a superb coach.
Lalo Rios coaching style was different. He could have been like most coaches, going about eight players deep, but he played everyone.
His bench was about fifteen deep, and he played everyone. Maybe that was his problem.
He played someone this year that was ineligible. He played in 25 games, 11 of which were in district. He made a mistake.
He didn’t do his due diligence when he went to the parents house, and that was wrong.
That player averaged 3 points all season, far from an impact player that you would chance a season on. So one would have to imagine that coach Rios just didn’t know.
His team paid the price yesterday, losing their chance at getting back to the semifinals.
Rios was not flamboyant. When you win anything you do looks cocky.
To call him flamboyant makes him sound like he was a showman on the court. Having sat on the sidelines both covering and coaching, I can tell you he is not flamboyant, or lets correct that, not as flamboyant as some other coaches.
Most coaches that win look like divas at some point.
Lalo Rios should not have resigned. He may have felt that the community wanted it, but that still doesn’t matter. You don’t let the inmates run the asylum.
Too often coaches let the parents dictate the manner in which they coach. Many parents think that a donation means playing time or access and it does not.
His resigning does not make Vela better and it does not make other coaches’ job easier. In fact it does the opposite.
Imagine this, if Lalo Rios can make the state semifinals one year, and get forced out the next, what does that mean to a guy who can’t make it past the first round?
It’s a slippery slope that was created with his departure.
I don’t think Vela is better for this, and I think the profession of coaching just took a hit.