THREE RIVERS – A familiar face will be manning the sidelines as the head football coach and athletic director for Three Rivers ISD, as Ramon Soliz, a 1994 graduate of Three Rivers High School and graduate of Southwest Texas State, was hired to fill the dual role.
“Three Rivers is a special place for me,” Soliz said. “To be able to come home and lead a program that had such a huge influence on my life and try to do that for others, really means a lot to me.”
Prior to accepting this position, Soliz worked for Jerry Bonewald in Poth as a quarterback/running back coach. Soliz also has experience coaching baseball, basketball and track, served as the strength and conditioning coach for three years under Randy Palmer at TRISD, and was TRISD’s head track coach this past year.
One of the ways Soliz has already been involved with the student athletes is through the Three Rivers Youth Association.
“I started the Three Rivers Youth Association in 2014,” Soliz said. “Shawn Thornton, Armando Diaz, Brian Zamzow and Sammy Ruiz also helped start this great program for the youth of Three Rivers, and I could not have done it without them. The community really showed up to make it as successful as it has been. An interesting side note is this year’s seniors were in the first group of TRYA athletes, which was their sixth-grade year. Over the years, we have seen what a positive influence being exposed to athletics early is, as well as (what good) having quality coaching and role models can have moving forward to junior high and high school. I do think it is a definite advantage knowing most of my athletes’ skill sets, demeanor and personalities coming into this year. I will not be starting from scratch.”
Ramon has been married to his wife, Dusty, for 20 years. They have two boys, Cade, 14, who is an incoming freshman, and Paxton, 10, an incoming fifth grader. Much of Soliz’s time over the last decade has been spent running Momentum Fitness, the local gym in Three Rivers. Loyal patrons need not worry, as Dusty will be overseeing decisions for the gym, and Doris Lerma and Dianne Dye will manage operations.
Dusty Soliz feels this newest chapter in her husband’s life is the culmination of his hard work over many years.
“As Ramon’s wife, what it means for me that he is now the Three Rivers athletic director is an overwhelming sense of joy and pride,” Dusty Soliz said. “I am also very grateful that we have people in our community who are willing to give him this opportunity and believe in him. Ramon took a bit of a different path to get here, but as I see it, it is a path that has allowed him to develop a much more holistic approach to coaching and training, one that will benefit so many of our kids. This will not be a job for him, because it is his passion, and he feels privileged to be given the opportunity. I also see this opportunity as an acknowledgement, not just for Ramon, but for an entire community of Three Rivers people who have been investing in their children’s futures since the development of our TRYA youth league years ago. Ramon, as the athletic director, recognizes their commitment as well.”
Dusty sees several qualities in her husband which she believes will make him very successful as an athletic director.
“From a professional standpoint, a unique quality Ramon brings is his vast knowledge and background in athletic strength and conditioning. He has spent years learning about and developing his approach to performance-based training. Plus, he has been putting it into practice, managing different athletic abilities and personalities within the fitness and sports conditioning realm for the last 10 years at Momentum Fitness. Also, he possesses a strong knowledge base about all of the major sports and will be able to implement a training approach that can be adapted to address the needs of each sport, programmed throughout the year. A strong performance-based training system is the foundation of a successful program. This is something Ramon is very passionate about and looks forward to implementing for the athletes. Another quality Ramon possesses is his vested interest in the success of the students and community of Three Rivers. Ramon came from a very successful Three Rivers High School athletic and academic program. He, along with so many who graduated during that time, developed strong leadership skills that he is excited about instilling in the students of today. Ramon has an ‘instinctual gift’ for coaching. He has a passion for helping kids. He also has an ability to engage and encourage kids in a way that gets the kids to want to work for him. It is a special quality that I have always admired. Lastly, Ramon has a deep loyalty and pride for the community and people of Three Rivers. He appreciates not just the athletes, but he truly wants all of the kids engaged in something, as he too has a musical and artistic background. Our kids deserve someone who is committed and engaged in facilitating their success, not just athletically, but in terms of becoming better people, and Ramon is that guy!”
The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of upheaval to the athletic calendar.
“There’s just so much uncertainty,” Soliz said. “We can only follow the guidelines established by Gov. Greg Abbott and work within those guidelines to the best of our abilities. Our baseball and softball programs have already been contacting athletes with Zoom workouts. That’s the extent that we are able to interact with our athletes to make sure we keep our student athletes safe, but we will continue to work on addressing the issue.
Soliz has been hard at work planning the schemes his football team will be running in the fall.
“Offensively, we will always run what fits our personnel,” Soliz said. “I am not stubborn with the types of offensive sets and schemes we run. My view is to identify my strengths and weaknesses and gravitate to the sets and schemes that best suit us from year to year. So, we will be multiple on offense, using the Wing T/Gun as our base. Defensively, we will base out of the Split 6. Physicality is a must in our program.”
There are several core values Soliz hopes to instill in his athletes.
“Discipline, work ethic and the willingness to compete,” Soliz said. “We will expect those values throughout our entire athletic program.”
Soliz noted the football team would be retaining a wealth of talent from the 2019 iteration.
“We lost some key seniors from last year but will be returning many starters,” Soliz said. “Seniors David ‘Juju’ Garcia, Ryann Davis, Landon Thornton, Taylor Stockton, Preston Wallace and Andrew Zuniga, and juniors Zach Davis, Rigoberto Sanchez, Ezra Asevedo, Sean Huff and Caleb Arnold.”