Jesse Perales, head coach at Del Valle High School since 2004, is leaving El Paso for Dallas-Fort Worth where he will take over the reins at Garland ISD’s Naaman Forest.
Tovar – There’s no question you have established yourself as a local high school coaching legend in El Paso. Describe how you are feeling right now.
Perales – I love coaching. I love football and winning. I Have very mixed emotions. Obviously, I am very sad to leave Del Valle High School. DV has been my home for the last 17 years. Paul Pearson took a chance on a young 30-year-old many years ago and I will be forever grateful. We have poured our heart and soul into DV for the last 17 years. DV has not only been my life but my entire family, to include parents, siblings, and relatives. The memories, the players, the coaches, the community I can’t help but get emotional. At the same time, this is the right time for me and my family. I look forward to the challenge. I’m a proud Hispanic and I want to do my part in breaking barriers and extending my platform. This isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but I know it’s the right thing to do. Time waits for no man!
Tovar – You leave Del Valle with a 125-50 record since being hired in 2004, winning seven district titles, ten bi-district titles, and one area championship. What moment will you remember most?
Perales – It’s very hard to pinpoint one moment. We had so many special moments. Winning area was a big one. But over the years there were so many special moments every season. It would be unfair of me to name one. I can tell you what I’m most proud of is 15 of those losses came in the playoffs and most of the others were preseason games where we would always try and play the best teams around. I’m proud that our coaches and players never shied away from playing the best. I really focused on relationships, and teaching the game, helping coaches grow, helping kids grow, helping our district and El Paso football grow. The wins were just a bonus in the process.
Tovar – Looking back at when you were first hired at Del Valle, some publicly criticized your hiring and you proved them all wrong. Now as you depart, what word of advice do you have for the new Del Valle head coach?
Perales – When I got the job those things never crossed my mind. I never coached to prove anybody wrong I coached to prove myself right. Many of us coaches, players and community members worked extremely hard to make Del Valle relevant. To make Del Valle a top tier program. I would say to the next man up please continue all the great traditions. Embrace the wonderful community. Embrace OFOD. Give the kids everything you have and they will give you everything they have.
Tovar – Seems as if every year, an assistant at Del Valle is hired as a head coach somewhere. Any departing words for the current staff at Del Valle?
Perales – I love every coach on the staff. I have faith they will continue to get better and surpass anything I ever did. I would like to thank them for everything they did. I was blessed to work with such amazing men. Not only great coaches but great men! The well is full. There are many great players coming up and I wish them all the luck in the world.
Tovar – Now you’re headed to Naaman Forest in Garland ISD. How excited are you to get there and coach the Rangers?
Perales – I’m very excited, anxious and a little nervous. It’s a great challenge. I really feel that I’m representing all El Paso Coaches. El Paso has some great coaches and it’s very difficult to get a job in the metro area. I am very fortunate to get that opportunity and I have to make good on it. It won’t be easy. The process will be challenging and difficult but I’m ready. I don’t want to look back twenty years from now with any regrets.
Tovar – First order of business at Naaman Forest?
Perales – Things will be 100mph for a while. Put a staff together, meet every kid in the program, connect with faculty and staff, find a place to live. Just a few of the things to start. I hope to rely on my faith and my experience to help me get through the process.
Tovar – Over the years you’ve had a gift of assembling strong coaching staffs. Will you be retaining or re-interviewing for coaches at Naaman Forest?
Perales – I hope to keep as many coaches that want to buy into my philosophies and do right by kids. All of them will have the opportunity to meet with me and see where we go from there. Naaman has a well-established program and the previous staff did a great job.
Tovar – We know family is very important to you, coach. We trust this decision was a family decision. How has it been for them since hearing the news?
Perales – If you know me you know faith and family are the most important to me. It has been difficult for our sons. Del Valle and El Paso are all they know. Ultimately the opportunity for my wife’s professional growth and the opportunities for our sons played a big part in our decision to move. We spent many a night discussing all the options.
Tovar – Anyone you’d like to thank? Where do I start?
Perales – There are so many great people that I have to thank. The school board, all the principals I’ve worked for. All the coaches I worked with and all the players I coached. It would take me weeks to name everybody. Trust me there are a lot of people I am very grateful too.
Tovar – Any last words before you depart?
Perales – I will always cherish my time at Del Valle. I hope that I was able to give the community something to be proud of. Every year was the most fun I ever had. I loved my job and most especially I loved every kid I ever coached. I will root for Del Valle to win every week. I hope the next man up can take them to a state title. That would be special. Good luck to the entire community.
Notable Players coached by Jesse Perales at Del Valle
Steven Montez, Raymond Montez, Karch Gardiner, Max Savedra, Steven Savedra, Eddie Rubalcava, Lou Ortega, Issac Moreno, Trudy Rios, Vince Santana, Jordan Baeza, Garrett Clark, Erik Ramirez, Tristin Tuialuuluu.