Mesa Vista girls basketball coaches killed by COVID-19 had a love for the game, their family and their alma mater | Sports

Robert Hundley

In Joey Trujillo’s mind, you just cannot communicate about Leonard Torrez without the need of talking about Leonardo “Leo” Torrez.

When Trujillo coached Mesa Vista’s boys basketball method from 2000-03, he said father Leonardo Torrez and son Leonard Torrez had been an inseparable pair. When Leonard Torrez turned a Class 2A All-State performer his senior 12 months and assisted the Trojans to the 2A semifinals as a junior, Leo Torrez was constantly a welcome presence substantial up in the stands.

When the two occupied the initially two seats on the Mesa Vista women bench for the past two seasons, Trujillo mentioned it was no surprise they have been a element of the program’s turnaround.

Leonard Torrez was the head mentor, though Leonardo Torrez was his best assistant. It was a job they also shared with the volleyball program.

The Girl Trojans were being 7- this time beneath the Torrezes, before the two contracted COVID-19 just ahead of Xmas and fought for their lives above the previous 3 months. Leonardo Torrez and Leonard Torrez died within just a day of every single other, on Tuesday and Wednesday, because of to problems from the coronavirus.

“Listening to individuals communicate about Leo and Leonard, they speak about them being fantastic coaches and motivating them,” Trujillo stated. “There are individuals who chat about all the positives they brought to the university and what they did for the young children.”

A great deal of that was because of the pride they had in becoming Trojans them selves. Leonard Torrez was a 2002 graduate, while his dad also was a basketball participant and a 1982 graduate of the faculty.

Thomas Vigil, a 2001 Mesa Vista graduate who was a mate and teammate of Leonard Torrez, mentioned the youthful Torrez showed off a new pounds place and all of the new drills he was employing for his girls workforce when Vigil showed up to engage in in an alumni sport in December.

The enthusiasm he and his father had in resurrecting a application that hadn’t been to the postseason in six seasons and received a district title in 11 decades was infectious.

“When you see a single of your teammates accomplishing that, you are just rooting for him,” Vigil claimed. “They experienced a great group this calendar year, and you just really want to pull for your alma mater.”

Jesse Boies, who was an assistant underneath Leonard Torrez and now assumes the head mentor job, said the two took the job, in aspect, for the reason that Leonard Torrez experienced two daughters taking part in in the method. Kylie Torrez is a sophomore guard on the varsity, although eighth grader Jaslene Torrez just moved up to the junior varsity right after completing the middle-college time.

But he reported their enthusiasm for basketball and their alma mater produced the collaboration sleek.

“What gripped them was the tradition,” Boies claimed. “The tradition in this community is just a beautiful factor to experience. It’s just a little something unique there.”

The only issue the Torrezes had far more passion for ended up Leonard Torrez’s four daughters. Boies and Leonard Torrez received to know just about every other since they coached elementary university teams in the Española General public Educational institutions district.

Leonard Torrez coached groups for Alcalde, when Boies was at Española Elementary.

“We grew to become rivals,” Boies explained. “They were the modest-college dominant crew, and we ended up the major-school dominant group. We’d satisfy in the championships, and we’d pack all those minimal gyms up, man.”

That rivalry further more sewed the seeds of friendship, and Boies joined the Torrezes in prior to the condensed 2021 period.

Richard Apodaca, Mesa Vista’s principal and head boys basketball coach, stated he developed a friendship with Leonard Torrez by way of their mutual love of basketball and coaching. Apodaca stated it just about became a tradition for the youthful Torrez to simply call him soon after a recreation and speak about what he could do better.

“He would say, ‘Coach, what did you see tonight?’ ” Apodaca stated. “I’d be like, ‘Coach, you just gained by 20!’ But we would sit there and speak about the young ones, the local community, and I received to know him a tiny bit a lot more than [Leonardo Torrez].

“But [the deaths] have been rough.”

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