Longtime Vernon High School Tennis Coach, Ruben Vargas, may have coached his last tennis match two weeks ago at state — where Emily Graf and Lauren Stanley brought home the bronze in 4A girl’s doubles — but that definitely was not his last ‘hoorah’ with his whole Vernon lion family.
Dozens of family members, friends, former co-workers and students came out to honor his career at a retirement celebration on Sunday at St. Lutheran Church in Vernon.
“It brought me to tears,” Coach Vargas said. “I mean I was emotional. I’m an emotional coach anyway, but I try to show love as much as I can. But it’s like I say — the more you give, the more you get and that’s what I felt today.”
“It was a family…. that’s what it meant. That’s what this tennis program means,” former assistant coach, Carrie Castleberry, said.
Vargas began his tennis coach career as a lion during the 1989 – 1990 school year. And every year since, he has taken a player to the state tournament.
“When he came, he brought some sort of motivation with him and – the kids – they want to excel for him. They want to go the distance for him,” friend of Vargas, Sandie Parmer, said.
Vargas brought several state titles, team championships and countless wins back home to Texoma.
“Help other people grow. That’s the thing I take away. I feel like I’ve done my part in this world. ‘What’re you in this world for?’ I believe it was to coach and make these kids better men and women. Hopefully pass that on to someone else,” Vargas said.
Many stood up to share their favorite memories during his career, sending off the well-loved coach and his wife into a winning retirement with big parting gift — a vacation cruise.
Coach Vargas said he hopes the team’s future is bright and that one of his former assistants, who he mentored, will fill his shoes.