When Alex Leal announced his retirement from coaching football, it signaled the end of the greatest career ever in the Rio Grande Valley. You can't argue with 224 wins, 16 playoff wins, and 11 district titles. You just can't.
But in the appreciation of Leal's monumental achievements, hopefully Valley football fans don't ignore the accomplishments of another local coach who called it a career on the same day as Leal.
Lopez Lobos head football coach Valentin Montemayor both played football and coached it in his hometown of Brownsville his entire career, and was involved with some of the best programs ever in that city.
"Coach Monte" played at Hanna through 1974, then was an assistant under Tom Chavez at Rivera during the building of the Raiders into a Valley powerhouse. In 1998. Montemayor took over at Lopez, the Southmost school that had only been playing football for four seasons before his arrival.
In 13 years with the Lobos, Montemayor took his team to their 1st-ever playoff appearance in 2001, their 1st-ever playoff win in '02, and then into the playoffs for Lopez' first season as a 5A school in 2006. Besides the football accomplishments, he was also the athletic coordinator when Lopez boys soccer became the first RGV high school team to win a state title at the 4A level in 2004.
So hail and farewell to both Alex Leal & Valentin Montemayor, two giants of Vaalley coaching who will both be missed on the local sidelines.