I started covering high school football Mishak Rivas’ junior year, and while Mishak was the attraction, you couldn’t keep your eyes off the short, fiery coach on the sideline wearing purple.
People warned me that Tony Villareal was a demon who would scare the hell out of you. They told me to watch out, he’s a (insert your own choice word here), and you can’t trust him.
I never found that as an issue in regards to me. He was always good to me, even when I heard he was mad about something on the forum or on the site.
I can still remember when we had a radio show on ESPN Radio and he called up while he was on the road to give us a quick commentary. We were talking about McDonald’s and the different types of breakfast. Tony V called in to tell us about the type of breakfast that he had in whatever state he traveled to one time.
He was an avid listener and he knew what people were saying about him, and unlike many coaches who adjust their demeanor to fit the situation, Tony V was the same guy.
He knew exactly what you thought of him, and embraced it. If you didn’t like him, so be it. See you on the field.
I can still remember the time coach Mario Pena at San Benito and coach Villarreal stole the show when they were shouting things across the field to each other. I don’t remember what they were saying, but I can only imagine that they were complimenting each other for their play calling.
Tony Villarreal walked the sidelines of Bobby Lackey for 12 seasons, moving up the winningest coaches list in Texas with 197 wins.
No matter who you bring into Weslaco, the foundation was set by Tony Villarreal. The grass isn’t always greener, and a flashy offense might look better than the Slot T, but it doesn’t mean it will be as effective.