EDINBURG – A principal at Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District was recently inducted into the Mexican Football Hall of Fame.
It seems like only yesterday that David Rivera slipped into his uniform and played college football at Monterrey Tech, but that was actually 45 years ago.
Today, Rivera is the principal at Edinburg CISD’s Edinburg Academy.
“Everything I learned, I learned in football, Rivera said. “You learn about teamwork. You learn about how important it is to have somebody’s back and cover somebody’s back, and what it does to lead to success.”
But Rivera’s success, including playing football, almost didn’t happen. In 1956, when he was just 4 years old, he and his family were involved in a horrible car accident.
“When they hit us broadside, I went out the window and I cracked the window, which is why (I have) the scars. I hit the pavement and cracked my skull,” he said.
His injuries were so bad that doctors had given him just 72 hours to live. But he survived after spending two months in the hospital and now has the scars to prove it.
“By the age of six, I was playing football out in the streets. I grew up in La Aguilera, which is (known as) Lull out here,” he said. “That was my neighborhood that I grew up in and playing football out in the streets barefooted out on the gravel roads. I liked football so much that I wanted to play. I said, ‘Someday, I am going to play for the Bobcats.’”
And that’s exactly what Rivera ended up doing, playing football for the Edinburg Bobcats.
“As a freshman, I made the JV Team. And then as a sophomore, I made the Varsity Team. So, I was a three-year letterman pretty much,” he said. “I dreamt about playing at the next level, but I thought this is it.”
The Bobcats Football Team clinched the district title in 1972. But that would not be the end of his football championships.
“Back in 1972 when I graduated from high school, and I did graduate from Edinburg High, I was recruited to go play in Monterrey in Mexico,” he said. “There were several other players here from the states that went over there.”
Rivera ended up playing football at Monterrey Tech on a full scholarship, winning two national championships. He and his fellow teammates helped to propel the university to the powerhouse it is today.
“Today, they are known as the Alabama Crimson Tide of Mexico, because of the National Championships,” he said. “Although, I will say that Monterrey Tech as won 21 National Championships as compared to Alabama’s 16. But okay, who’s counting?”
And now 45 years later, Rivera and his some of his teammates were recognized for their hard work, being inducted into the Mexican Football Hall of Fame.
“One of my best memories and feelings is being there with my family,” he said. “My family got to go walking in and seeing some of the other players that were selected.”
Rivera said that his football experience plays a pivotal role in how he helps to motivate his students to get back on track.
“Because to me, that’s what they are missing. They’re missing that teamwork,” he said. “What does it take to succeed? How can you get there just by yourself? It’s hard to get there. But if you’re together with others, and you work with them, and you work for a goal, then you’re going to get there.”
Those are just some of the goals Rivera said that he tries to instill into his students. The same goals that helped to propel him into the Mexican Football Hall of Fame.