EDINBURG - For years, Bert Garcia has dedicated a great amount of time to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and RGVFC organizations. From washing uniforms, to managing ticket sales, to eventually becoming president and providing an opportunity for many young athletes, there is no other way to describe his success but as remarkable. Like many, he truly launched his career starting from the bottom, and after a rough climb to the top, has decided it’s time to move on.
With tears in his eyes, Garcia announced his official resignation as president Friday afternoon at HEB park to a room full of close friends, family, athletes, parents, and staff members. It was a heartfelt conference, with CEO Diego Ruegos recounting Garcia’s first days as a volunteer up to his accomplishments with the organization. RGVFC player, Brandon Morales (who at 18 is already choosing between two division one universities offering full ride athletic scholarships), read a personal letter thanking Garcia for the opportunities he’s created in the Valley; for giving young, talented athletes “a reason to stay home.” Through choked sobs, Garcia thanked those who have helped him get to where he is now while recalling to where it all started: in the car of a parking lot - or if they were lucky, a cheap motel - just so his brother could attend basketball tournaments.
“When I was growing up, there was no professional sports in the Rio Grande Valley, so for me, this is the ultimate dream.” Garcia told the press. “The fact that we’re able to give back to these kids is everything. Seeing them smile and have an opportunity I never could have . . . it’s the best feeling.”
It’s clear that Garcia’s tenure has brought many bright and successful moments for both him and the organization. During his time as president, Garcia has been a part of two basketball championships, became the first Hispanic president of a NBA team to win executive of the year, and has seen 27 kids in both the Viper and RGVFC program not only go to college, but play at the collegiate level. Yet, despite all this, Garcia feels as though stepping down is the right move, not only for him, but for the entire organization and community.
“I want to get better for the Valley.” said Garcia. “I figured that other opportunities could make me come back and give something better to the organization.”
Those opportunities include the opening of his own consultant firm, which he hopes will help out other public and private sectors. However, even with future plans already made, Garcia admits that he will “still be here” for the organization, aiding the programs in whatever way possible and watching the many young athletes reach their goals.
So, while this chapter comes to a close, there is still much for Garcia to look forward to. In the meantime, he savors the moment with those around him, leaving behind a path of opportunities.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be president of the Torros and Vipers for the last nine years.” he said. “It’s only until next time.”