Del Valle High School (El Paso) will go in-house to hire its sixth-ever head football coach.
Rudy Contreras, a 9-year assistant at Del Valle and 13-year instructor in Ysleta ISD, has agreed to be head coach of Conquistador football.
Having served as assistant offensive coordinator in 2018, Contreras was promoted to OC following last season when Alfred Montez retired. Contreras now fills the void left when longtime Del Valle head coach Jesse Perales departed for Garland ISD’s Naaman Forest in late May.
Prep1: Congratulations on becoming the new head football coach at Del Valle High School. How does it feel?
Contreras: Feeling really excited right now but we know we have a lot of work to do so there wasn’t much time to celebrate. However, I am very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to lead this program.
Prep1: Describe the interview process you just experienced after knowing you were up against qualified candidates for the Del Valle job?
Contreras: It’s Del Valle. I knew there were many qualified applicants and I knew it was going to be a grind. I knew to win this job I would have to have everything covered and making sure I had no stone unturned. I had to make sure I had answers for my action plan, personal and football philosophies, as well as ways to keep the tradition alive.
Prep1: What’s your first order of business as Del Valle head coach?
Contreras: It’s business as usual. We can’t have distractions right now, we have work to do. I will meet with the staff and all the players but we need to have a strong summer. That’s what we will focus on right now.
Prep1: What does it mean to take over this prestigious program after the departure of former head coach and local coaching legend Jesse Perales?
Contreras: It was great working for Coach Perales these past 12 years. I learned so much from him not just about X’s and O’s but what it takes to run a successful program on-and-off the field. We know that this program is not just about one coach or one player it’s about the program. We have a great staff that has been together for a long time and kids that buy in. I have to keep these standards in place.
Prep1: Will you be retaining coaching or re-interviewing for positions at Del Valle?
Contreras: We have slots to fill but this is a great staff. I will be retaining our coaches.
Prep1: The high school football landscape has somewhat changed in Class 2-5A as Del Valle and Eastlake changes head coaches. It may be a reboot to an already exciting rivalry. Thoughts?
Contreras: There a lot of good head coaches that have taken over programs in our district but we cannot pay attention to that. We have to focus on us and how we will get better. Our district is really good and every game is a battle.
Prep1: Rudy Contreras, head football coach of the Big Bad Blue. How does that sound?
Contreras: I feel very humbled and honored when I hear that. What makes Del Valle special is the support we have from our school and community. I have to make sure that our team represents them the best way possible. It truly is a blessing to have this opportunity.
Prep1: How has this hire impacted your family?
Contreras: My family is very excited but nothing will change. All my family has known the past 12 years is Del Valle, so they have built relationships with our coaching staff, administration, faculty, and staff. My Del Valle family is still the same. Our coaching staff and players know it’s business as usual.
Prep1: Coach, many have said you’re a “quiet behind the scenes” kind of guy. Now you’ll be in the spotlight as Del Valle head coach. Are you and your family ready for that?
Contreras: At Del Valle, you know what your job is and what it entails. Being in the spotlight and on the forefront was not on mine or any other assistant coach’s job description. That responsibility was for Coach Perales. My job was to prepare the offense and have them ready to play at a high level. Now I know I will be on the forefront and I am excited to represent our program. I am thrilled to meet the great people that support our program and to build long-lasting relationships.
Prep1: Year-after-year Del Valle is in contention for championships. How does the 2019 Big Bad Blue squad look? What can we expect from your boys next fall?
Contreras: We have a great group coming back. Our defense is returning key players and our offense is returning most of our line. We are adding some special talent. This team has a very good group of running backs and a young-but-talented receiving core. We will continue to put out a competitive and relentless team out on the field.
Prep1: We all know about the “One Family One Destiny” (or OFOD) culture at Del Valle. At every home game the Conquistadores host at-capacity crowds, special guests, and welcome kids in the community to run out of the tunnel with the team. Will those traditions continue?
Contreras: Traditions like those are what make Del Valle special. We will continue those traditions and encourage the community to be a part of our program.
Prep1: Is there anyone you’d like to thank or anything you’d like to express as you accept the position at hand?
Contreras: We are very excited for this upcoming season. We want to let the Del Valle County know that we will continue to play tough, hard, physical, and relentlessly. We will continue to play for the name on our chest and the people who have put that jersey on before us. We will continue to make our school and community proud. This program will encourage our alums and our community to be a part of the special things that are happening at Del Valle. OFOD!! KEEP THE TRADITION ALIVE!!
Images taken by Sammy Espinoza of Prep1 and The Old Coach