Rios Starts New Chapter
LA FERIA – Lalo Rios led Vela to the state semifinals in 2016. At the time, it was the furthest run a Valley boys team had made since 2009. The following season, the SaberCats self-reported a team violation and had to forfeit over 20 wins. Rios then resigned and contemplated never coaching again. That all changed when the job at Edcouch-Elsa opened up.
“Starting a program and building it from the ground up is always a great opportunity for any coach,” said Rios. “We were very excited to get that opportunity at Edcouch-Elsa.”
Coming to Edcouch-Elsa marked a return to his family’s roots. Rios lived in Elsa early in his childhood. His mother is a Jacket graduate.
“I had some very fond memories growing up there playing basketball there in the summer time with all the guys and always talking to Coach Capello back in the day,” said Rios.
Rios takes over a program for the third time in his career. The Jackets players are hungry to start a coach that’s taken a Valley team to the state final four.
“We were very excited and knew what he can do,” said Joseph Gonzalez. “We’re a good little group and when he came, he just made us stronger.”
“It’s a process,” said Rios. “It’s very difficult to go in year one and automatically have success but credit to these kids that they’re really trying to do everything we’re throwing at them.”
Rios and Edcouch-Elsa wrap up the C.E. Vail tournament Saturday. After that, they’ll compete in PSJA’s Tri-City tournament.