Credit: David Flores / Kens5.com
Rudy De Los Santos of the Harlandale ISD, left, and Gil Garza of the SAISD are the first Hispanics from S.A. to enter the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association Hall of Honor.
Sunday, Jul 29 at 5:45 PM
Harlandale ISD athletic director Rudy De Los Santos and San Antonio ISD athletic director Gil Garza will be inducted into the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association Hall of Honor on Sunday at the Hyatt Regency.
The event starts with a reception at 6 p.m. and is being held in conjunction with the Texas High School Coaches Association's annual summer convention, which runs Sunday through Wednesday in San Antonio.
De Los Santos, 57, has been athletic director of the Harlandale Independent School District since 1996.
A 1974 Burbank High School graduate, De Los Santos coached for 17 years before becoming an administrator. He was the first Hispanic head football coach at Harlandale High School, leading the program for five seasons after serving as an assistant under M.J. Trammell for eight years.
De Los Santos and Garza will be the first Hispanics from San Antonio to go into the Hall of Honor, which was established in 1981.
Garza, 60, has been athletic director of the San Antonio ISD since 2002. He graduated from Edinburg High School in 1970, and played baseball at Ranger Junior College and Pan American University before graduating in 1975. He was a coach and athletic director at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo before becoming SAISD athletic director.
De Los Santos left Harlandale in 1994 to become head coach at Weslaco, coaching the Panthers until succeeding Syl Perez as athletic director two years later.
De Los Santos: "The good Lord must have a sense of humor'
"Actually, I was never interested in becoming an AD," De Los Santos said. "When I came back to Harlandale as athletic director, I told the people here that I would take the job with the understanding that I probably wouldn't stay long because was sure I was going to go back into
Now preparing for his 17th season as athletic director, De Los Santos said he was surprised when he was informed that he was being inducted into the THSADA Hall of Honor.
"The good Lord must have a sense of humor," De Los Santos said. "Here I am going into the Hall of Honor and I never thought I would be an AD. I am very humbled to be getting this honor because it's something I never envisioned."
An Edinburg native, Garza has been a full-time athletic director since 1991.
“The honor is very special to me because it’s coming from my peers,” said Garza, 60. “It’s an AD’s award. I consider it a tribute to my family, and it makes it very nice that I get to share it with the SAISD family as well.”
Garza started his coaching career in 1975 at Brewster Junior High in San Manuel, about 20 miles north of Edinburg, before joining Richard Flores’ staff at Edinburg High in 1976.
“Richard Flores is the one who taught me how to treat people and do things the right way,” Garza said. “That’s where I learned that you have to build relationships with people to be successful. Coaching at Edinburg was one of my biggest building blocks."
While De Los Santos said he still misses coaching, he has learned to embrace the challenges of being an athletic director.
"As you become better at being an athletic director, you realize that you're teaching coaches how to handle different situations," De Los Santos said. "Instead of coaching youngsters, you become a coach of coaches."