Basketball alum coaches high school team to the fourth round of playoffs

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Ryan Flores was a point guard for the St. Edward’s University men’s basketball team from 1998 to 2002. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and returned to his hometown of McAllen, Texas to continue spreading his passion for basketball.

Now in his first year as the head basketball coach at McAllen High School, in the Rio Grande Valley, Flores led his boys’ varsity team to the 2015 UIL State Region IV Semifinals, finishing the season with a District Co-title in 30-6A, Bi-District title, Area title and a Regional Quarterfinals title.

High School Sports Magazine (HSSM) also recently named Flores as one of two 2014-15 All-South Texas Co-Coaches of the Year.

What were some activities or organizations you were involved with as a student at St. Edward’s?

Ryan Flores: in the Academy of Science club.

What did you do after graduation?

I graduated from St. Ed’s in December of 2002 and moved back home. I started teaching right away in January in my hometown of McAllen. After that semester I got a job at my old Alma Mater, McAllen Nikki Rowe High School, and served as a boys’ basketball freshmen coach. I did that for 2 years and then was offered a position as a varsity assistant at McAllen Memorial High School. I spent the next nine years at McAllen Memorial as a varsity assistant and really enjoyed the school, my peers, and the kids. An opportunity came up at McAllen High School, and I went for it. I knew that I wanted to be a head boys’ basketball coach, and this opportunity seemed right – bringing me to where I am today.

Do you still keep in contact with anyone from St. Edward’s?

I do, I try my best to keep in touch with some of my old teammates and coaches.

How was your first year at McAllen High School (McHi)?

I’ve had a great first year. The young men I had the opportunity to coach this year responded to me very well and our season could not have gone any better. We were 30-6A district, bi-district, area, and regional quarter-final champions with an appearance at the regional tournament. I was beyond blessed to have such an outstanding first year as a head coach and I hope to continue bringing good things to the McHi basketball program.

Are there any life lessons from your time at the Hilltop that you’ve carried over as a coach?

Being that I received an athletic scholarship to play basketball at the Hilltop, I knew my grades came first to be able to do what I loved and that was to play ball. The life lessons I took away from my time there were to always give 100% on and off the court. This lesson may seem simple, but it applies to everything in life. I need to give 100% to my students, to my athletes, and to my community. I try to instill this in the classroom and in the gym with all my players.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I can’t see myself doing anything other than coaching. I hope to be a successful boys’ basketball coach, and I hope to have continued success in my hometown and hopefully at McHi. 

What are some words of advice you would like to offer to current students?

The best advice I can give anyone is to always stay true to themselves. Do what you love and you will be happy and successful. My wife always tells me to be myself and never lose sight of where I came from and how I got there, and this has been important to me, especially this year. Never let success change you. Stay true to who you are and what you believe in.

Flores’ middle school basketball coach, Randy Bocanegra, another decorated head coach from the Rio Grande Valley, weighed in on his thoughts about Flores, who happens to be his younger cousin.

“Ryan displays a calm demeanor on the basketball court. I had the pleasure of being his 7th grade middle school coach. Even then, he displayed a competitiveness and eagerness to learn and get better,” Pharr-San Juan-Alamo North Early College High School’s Lady Raider Head Coach, Bocanegra said. At the time, “he stood about knee high to a grass hopper but he played like he was ten feet tall. He was an exceptional ball handler and point guard.”

Bocanegra added, “He is very knowledgeable when it comes to his basketball X’s and O’s and at the same time he is not above asking questions and for advice about game situations and game planning. He is a student of the game as well as a teacher / coach of the game.”

“Off the court he is an easy going person, very well-liked by everyone I have ever seen him come across and meet. From what I have seen he is also an excellent class room teacher. McAllen High School is very fortunate to have him as their boys head basketball coach.”

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