laredo basketball high school tamiu alice

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ALICE — Former Texas A&M International University women’s basketball player Marili Santos always had a vision to one day return to her hometown of Alice and become the head basketball coach .

Last year, Santos was given the green light and she landed her dream job, becoming the head coach of her Alma Mater. While dressing for the Lady Coyotes, Santos was an all-district, all-region, and all-South Texas player.

“It’s exciting. It’s exciting to be back where it all started for me,” Santos said. “How every coach at every grade level has made a difference for me. now building a program and wanting to bring Lady Coyote Basketball back to where it needs to be. It’s a memory of the good old days of stepping into the locker room and the gym every day and motivating each other getting girls to play Lady Coyote Basketball every day.

Santos played for Alice from 1999-2002 before heading to Eastern Oklahoma Junior College for a year before landing at TAMIU. She was part of the inaugural TAMIU women’s basketball team in 2003 and finished her college career in 2006.

“It was a great experience playing for TAMIU,” Santos said. “I was part of the history of being on the first women’s basketball team for the Dustdevils. The coaching staff was amazing and I had the opportunity to meet and play with some really great teammates whom I consider to be friends for life.


Some of Santos’ teammates included current Nixon head coach LeaAnn Killian-Mendoza as well as his assistant Lizzy Herrera-Villarreal plus Rebecca Mata, Trisha Hill-Whetstone, Anetra Matthews, Jermina Tomlinson, Vanessa Villareal, Nyibol Bior, Pia San Miguel, Gloria Miller. , Lizzy Garcia and Cathy Garcia.

“Playing with Mari in college was awesome,” Killian-Mendoza said. “She’s a great competitor and was an amazing teammate. I’m so happy for her and her accomplishments and I know she’s going to do amazing things for the Alice Girls Basketball program.

The Dustdevils were NAIA before moving to Division II where they currently play. They have played in the Red River Conference, Heartland Conference and now play in the Lone Star Conference.

Santos has fond memories of playing for TAMIU despite the injuries she suffered during her playing career, including a broken nose and a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

“Playing at TAMIU was a great experience and being able to get a scholarship for all three years was extremely rewarding,” said Santos. “I broke my nose, but it was my first year when I blew my knee and tore my anterior cruciate ligament. It slowed me down, but I was able to come back and play my last I have only good memories playing for TAMIU and I’m proud to have played for the Dustdevils.

The valuable lessons she learned while playing for Memorial Middle School, Alice High School and TAMIU she took into her training which began as a head coach at Premont High School from 2008 to 2011 before returning to Alice where she worked her way up to the top. coaching position after starting as a coach in college.

The Lady Coyotes finished tied for fourth with Robstown and fell in the qualifying game last season. While their overall tally doesn’t indicate how much progress the Lady Coyotes have made, Santos is happy with the direction they’re headed.

“So far this season has had its ups and downs,” she said. “We are a young and inexperienced team. They learn a new system, everyone adapts. We had a difficult pre-season, but it was good for us. We learned from every game, whether won or lost.

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