By Pete Banda
You can see the pride in his eyes as he speaks about the program he took control of nearly three full years ago – of course, that’s assuming you’re able to catch him without his trusty sunglasses. Either way, there is no denying that Greyhound Head Coach and Athletic Director Dan Gomez has helped establish San Benito as one of the premier athletic departments in all of South Texas. Now, as his contract winds down to the final year, the community will undoubtedly begin to speculate about the future of one of the most successful football coaches in Greyhound history. For Gomez, however, all that matters is that his athletes know he has their backs and continue to perform at high levels both on and off the field.
In just his second head coaching job of his career, Gomez has been nothing short of spectacular. In the three seasons before Gomez arrived in the Resaca City, the Greyhounds went a combined 18-14, including a pedestrian 13-10 record in District play. They were dealing with a two year playoff drought and managed only one victory in their rivalry with Harlingen.
It’s safe to say a few things have changed since then.
In three full seasons under Gomez, the Greyhounds have yet to lose a home game and have claimed two district titles, while falling a touchdown short of a third straight. The former Raymondville Bearkat star athlete has also led San Benito into three of the most memorable Battle of the Arroyo games ever played, winning two of them. Still, Gomez remains just as proud of the overall state of his program as he is of the football teams success.
“Our main goal when our coaching staff took over here was to make sure that every sport we have in San Benito should be one of the top programs in the Valley,” said Gomez. “And that means everything from football to volleyball to soccer and powerlifting… we have some extremely talented athletes in San Benito and I think our programs have really done a nice job of showcasing that.”
Even more important to Gomez than the success his athletes have had is the success his students have had. As Gomez sees it, every athlete in his program is a student first and athlete second.
“We try to get kids to play multiple sports because that gives them a little extra motivation to keep their grades up and remain eligible year-round,” said Gomez. “Since I’ve been here, I’d say we have on average 90 to 95 percent of all athletes eligible at all times… that’s something our staff is extremely proud of and it just shows how dedicated our kids are.
Although he did not have the exact numbers available, the San Benito athletic program under Gomez has sent multiple athletes from a wide range of sports to college on athletic scholarships. In the last two years, Gomez has seen at least three of his team captains earn a spot on the Superintendent’s Hi-5 List.
“There is no better feeling than seeing one of our kids have success off the field of play,” Gomez added. “I think we’ve established a pretty well rounded athletic department here and I’m excited to see what we can continue to build here.”
When asked about his contract situation, Gomez had a laugh before uttering a phrase that probably best sums up his tenure in San Benito.
“I’m just focused on doing my job and making sure that I’m doing the absolute best I can to put our athletes in the best situation possible… I just focus on what I can control and the rest usually works itself out.”