Coach Galindo Vs. COVID-19!

by Victoria Cazares 

Pueblo High School girls’ basketball head coach, Ismael Galindo, has been coaching at Pueblo for nine years. This year, Coach Galindo and the Pueblo team have been required to follow a number of rules due to the pandemic. 

To stay safe, players must remain six feet apart and wear masks at all time, rules that the district enforces. Galindo said that he follows all of the rules and safety regulations to ensure his players stay safe throughout the 2020-2021 school year. 

“The challenges have been hard, but they are requirements if we want to have a season,’’ said Galindo. 

COVID-19 testing occurs once every week or every two weeks for players and coaches. Mr. Miguel Sandoval, who is known to most as “Coach Miggs”, Pueblo’s athletic director, enforces these requirements. If a player tests positive, the entire team has to follow district rules and guidelines—that is, the entire team has to sit out for no less than two weeks. 

Galindo said, “I don’t like getting tested because it’s really uncomfortable, but it’s necessary.’’ 

However, Galindo is not letting this pandemic affect his coaching. He is here to do his job and make his players better. All he wants this year is to have a season. 

“I feel bad watching everyone struggle, running around in masks. It bugs me,” he said. 

Learning and following all the new rules has been a challenge for coach. Checking temperatures every day and printing out the daily COVID-19 screening sheet is something he and his players just have to get used to daily. 

Coach said, “We have to follow all Arizona Interscholastic Association and TUSD rules, and now we have to follow all the COVID-19 rules.” 

The seniors graduating this year are the last group of girls who advanced to the championship in 2018. Coach wants to make their last year special by hanging up their banners in both gyms, giving them their jersey frames and putting a picture of them in the trophy case. 

“Senior Night might be earlier in the season due to COVID-19,” Galindo said. “I want to make sure the seniors have a ceremony even if it means they have to do it outside, one family at a time. Some of these girls have played for me all four years at Pueblo, and that means a lot.” 

One senior player, JaeDee Lopez, said, “Not having a normal senior year has really affected me. Sometimes I lost motivation for everything, including playing basketball. But, I’m going to keep my confidence up and make the most of this situation.” 

Another senior, Alexis Enriquez, said, “Whenever life seems difficult or things keep changing, the best thing to do is to keep moving forward and keep positive. That’s what I’ve been doing, and that’s what keeps me going.” 

Senior Getsemani Cazares said, “For a while, we weren’t even sure if we were going to have a season. Last year, when I was a junior, I couldn’t play due to an injury, so it’s really important to me that I get to play before I graduate.” 

Galindo is really looking forward to playing against their new division. They are working hard to make this season successful no matter what teams they play.

Pueblo Welcomes New Teacher, Varsity Football Coach

By Diego Pro 

On December 17, 2019, Pueblo High School hired football head coach Mr. Jacob Allen. Coach Allen has been a teacher for three years and a high school football coach for 11 years. 

Coach Jake Allen talks to team.

He started his career at Ironwood Ridge High School and coached for 10 years before coaching at Mountain View for one year. Then he decided to come coach here at Pueblo. This is his first year as a varsity head coach. 

“Teaching at Pueblo is the only job I applied for,” said Allen. “Pueblo was everything I was looking for. Pueblo has a very strong community and rich history.” 

Allen said that he had an interesting life before coming to Pueblo. After graduating high school, he wanted to join the military, but an injury from football made him unable to join. 

“My family has always been involved in the community and has been involved with the military,” he said. “I needed to find another way to contribute to my community.” 

After graduating from the University of Arizona, he became a government/economics teacher but eventually became a math and weight training teacher. 

On his first day hired as coach, Allen held a meeting with his players, and he talked about his coaching strategies as well as defined his expectations for his new team. 

He said, “I wanted the team to know that we were going to simplify the game, become explosive, be hard-hitting and to let the team know that they will be disciplined.” 

Coach Allen also stressed that his players have to value their academics to be eligible to play. 

“Earning high grades is always a priority,” he said. 

Coach Allen said that he believes that the effort he and the team put in class, will reflect how we play on the field and believes that whoever we are on the field and in the classroom, is a reflection of who we are as a person. 

For a few months, playing football this school year looked like a long shot because of the Covid-19 pandemic. On August 17, the football team was given the green light to start Phase 1: to practice in small 7-person pods. A few weeks later, players were given the green light to start Phase 2 in which players could practice as a whole team. 

“I know there are rumors going around right now that might indicate that we may not have a season,” said Allen. “However, as of right now, it’s not a matter of if we’ll have a season, it’s when.” 

Allen said, “Life is never easy. Sometimes it will come up and smack you in the face. No matter how hard and difficult it may seem, you can overcome those obstacles. No matter what obstacles you face, ninety-nine percent of the time someone will help you attack those obstacles. So stay strong and be patient because pretty soon, those obstacles will no longer be there.”

Q & A With Former Wrestling Coach Steve Lopez

coach-steve-lopez-pueblo-wrestling

After 25 years as Pueblo’s Wrestling Coach (2 as an assistant under John Mulay), Steve Lopez decided to step down at the end of the 2015-2016.  With our wrestling season starting today, we want to show how much we appreciate his service & dedication to our school by publishing an interview we conducted with him on June 3, 2016.

Q: What motivated you to get into coaching?

Coach Lopez: I wanted to coach because I loved the sport of wrestling and what it taught me.

Q: Can you share some of your first memories of coaching at Pueblo?

Coach Lopez: I remember that it was hard. Teaching and motivating kids was hard but yet fun. You get closer to your athletes than you do in any other sport.

Q: Can you explain your coaching philosophy?

Coach Lopez: My philosophy is and will always be, get [the kids] to trust you and like you, then love the sport, then they will move mountains for you.

Q: Can you share some your highs & lows as a coach?

Learning how to coach, being patient, losing and losing bad at times and the kids being disappointed at you for no reason, those were some of the lows.  Having a string of successes, wining multiple region titles and a state title & coaching my son would have to be up there as highs.

Q: Please share some of your most memorable moment(s) of your coaching experience?

Coach Lopez: Winning a state title and my son being a part of it.  Coaching a bunch of fine young men and still having some of them in my life as I have grown older.

Q: What will you miss most about coaching especially the start of next season?

Coach Lopez: I will miss the grind. Hanging out everyday with these boys and motivating them and encouraging them to do their best. Telling them they will be better young men for doing this, participating in the hardest sport.\

Q: How did you know it was time to walk away from coaching?

Coach Lopez: I knew it was time because we have the guys here and in place to take over and are poised to do a great job. No better place to leave [program] in the hands of other former Pueblo Wrestling State champs who love the sport.

Q: Any advice to future coaches here at Pueblo?

Coach Lopez: Continue to motivate guys to do their best and never give up.

Q: Is there anyone you want to thank for their support of your coaching career or the program?

Coach Lopez: Thank you to Dr. Richardson for hiring me at first, Mr. Nuñez who supported me for many years, Frank R. for always supporting me in every way possible, Ms. Rimmell who supported us from start to finish, and many teachers and administrators who were always there.  You have always been a fan and have supported the wrestling program. For that I am indebted to you. Ms. Boone has always been there to support. So many, many people…

Q: How will you spend you free time now?

Coach Lopez: I will probably volunteer and help.  I will spend more time with my family and my new granddaughter Callie, working on my Lowrider and just enjoying my time.

On behalf of the entire Pueblo Family: Thank you Coach!