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Calexico coach to hang it up after playoffs

May 24, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

CALEXICO — A little more than seven years ago the Calexico High School baseball team needed a coach who would be a leader and a teacher to his players and keep Calexico's winning tradition intact.

It took some time, but Calexico High athletic director Ray Alvarado eventually settled on Sergio Rubio, a 22-year-old unproven coach who played baseball for the Bulldogs in the late 1980s.

It was a gamble, but seven years, three league titles and more than 100 victories later, Rubio proved the gamble was worth taking.

It's been a successful ride for Rubio, but at the end of this season he'll hang up his No. 32 uniform and walk away from the Calexico baseball program having accomplished just about everything he set out to do.


"The reason I'm leaving is for personal reasons. My wife's expecting our first child and I want to devote time into being a father," said the 29-year-old Rubio. "I have a lot of responsibilities with baseball, school (Calexico High) and ASB. And all that has taken its toll.

"I just think it's time for me to step away as coach. I've accomplished a lot with this team," Rubio said. "I always said that when I leave the team, I'd want it to be on my own terms. I didn't want someone telling me to leave. And considering the season we had it was good to go out on top."

This season Rubio's team finished first in the Imperial Valley League with an 11-1 record. Over the past two seasons the Bulldogs have been 18-2 in the IVL. Last year Calexico finished first in IVL with a 7-1 record but was stripped of the championship for playing an ineligible player.

Rubio's decision to step down was made before the start of the season when he first told his assistants of his decision. Shortly after informing his staff, he let his team in on his plans.

"We were surprised that he decided to leave," said pitcher Juan Lopez. "We knew they were going to have a baby, but we didn't expect him to leave because of that."

Lopez is one of six seniors who have played at least two years under Rubio. Also playing for Rubio the past two seasons have been Pedro Cazarez, Chris Wong and Hector Rivera. Matt Sauceda and Diego Lopez played three seasons for Rubio.

All six said this entire season was dedicated to Rubio.

"This season was for him. Everything we did we dedicated to coach Rubio," said Diego. "The reason we've been successful and were able to win was because of him. He was really dedicated to this team and meant a lot to us. We really wanted to have a good season so he could leave on a good note."

While Rubio's duties will officially be over when the last out of the team's last game is recorded, his final responsibility will be to help find his replacement.

He said while he would like to keep the job within the Calexico family, it wouldn't necessarily have to be a former Bulldog who takes the reins. He did say he would like the next coach to keep the current staff and be someone who'll be more than a coach to the players.

As soon as that decision is made, Rubio will be free to focus on other aspects of his life.

Will he miss coaching?

"Come next March when it's time for the team to start playing in tournaments on those perfect days, I'll definitely miss going out to the ballpark," Rubio said. "But I've been a coach for seven years here and now it'll be time for me to be a coach to my son."

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