FATHER AND SON: Union Head Basketball Coach Rudy Garcia watches as his son Mo Garcia gets ready to hit a three-point shot for the Redskins in a recent game.
KEVIN ADAMS for GTR Newspapers
Rudy Garcia has been coaching the Union Redskins on the hardwood for a long time. But there has never been a time as special as now as he gets to coach his son, Mo Garcia, now in his junior season.
The younger Garcia has been a starter since halfway through his freshman year and is in a leadership role in the team’s unbeaten campaign and a quest for the school’s fourth state championship, all under the tenure of his father.
“It’s special anytime you get a chance to coach your kids,” Rudy Garcia says. “I think any coach cherishes the chance to coach their kids. He’s been around it all his life and he’s had sisters that played.”
One of those sisters is McKenzie, a Union High School graduate of 2010. She was a member of the 2008 girls state championship team. The other is Kennedy, a graduate of 2015.
“We are a basketball family,” Rudy Garcia says.
The Garcias are well-grounded in the Union family. Rudy has coached in the school system for 28 seasons and has been the head boys’ coach for 22 of them. His wife and Mo’s mother, Tammy, a 1980 UHS graduate, has worked within the school system for 35 years. She is currently a counselor at the Union alternative school.
Mo Garcia is also grateful for the privilege of being a protégé under his dad.
“It’s special. He’s done so many good things here throughout his career,” Mo Garcia says. “I’m just glad I can spend time with my basketball career, having him coaching me and growing in the game with him.”
When it comes to home, the Garcias rarely talk about their sports action.
“To have the chance to coach him day in and day out, it’s a different relationship than a lot of father-son relationships,” the older Garcia says. “The fact that it’s my job, I have to coach him then go home and try to balance the father-coach aspect of it, but we don’t talk a lot about it at home. I may say a few things to him, but I try to leave it at the gym and let him live his life away from the gym, so I have an understanding and a great relationship.”
One thing Rudy Garcia has recently preached to his son is that you can never be satisfied with your success.
Mo Garcia says, “My dad says that once you’re satisfied, you’re done. He’s pretty much telling me that I can never quit working.”
Mo Garcia is coachable and does a lot for the team, his dad says.
“We ask a lot out of him,” Rudy Garcia says. “His overall knowledge of the game and understanding how to play is a plus. He likes being a leader for us and knows where everybody is supposed to be. He is like a coach on the floor. He helps get us organized and when he sees things on the floor that maybe we don’t see at the time, he relays things to us and we’re able to use some of those things to our advantage.”
His sisters also give him some guidance in the game as well.
“Most definitely,” Rudy Garcia says, laughing. “They’ve been around it. They watch film with me, they see and understand what I expect from my players. They put a lot of pressure on him and are very critical of what he does. McKenzie watches every film, every game. She usually gives her critique of how he played and things like that. But they are very supportive and very critical of how he plays.”
“(McKenzie) grades film almost every game and she’ll text me what I need to do better or what I did wrong and make sure I’m getting everything right,” Mo Garcia says. “(Kennedy) is always in the stands every game yelling at me if I’m being lazy and tell me to get my butt back in gear.”
Mo Garcia’s favorite memory of watching any of Dad’s teams growing up came in 2012, when the team went unbeaten, capturing the second state championship
“I was even crying just after we won because I was up here every day in practice just watching them grind it out and get ready,” Mo Garcia says.
The Redskins are ranked No. 1 in Class 6A at this writing. The younger Garcia says defense has been the key and will continue to be so as they pursue the dream of winning another state title.
“Every big player we have played, we’ve kept them to low numbers and they haven’t had those 30-40 point games,” Mo Garcia says. “So, if we keep those key guys under control, it gives us a good chance to win.”