South Texas Recruitment in New Hands

Gonzalez-header.jpgA veteran educator will lead the recruitment efforts for Central Methodist University in south Texas. Sam Gonzalez, who has been a teacher and a coach for nearly 30 years, recently visited Fayette to familiarize himself with the campus and to train.

Gonzalez, however, says his “training” actually started six months ago when legendary CMU recruiter Ben Lopez took Gonzalez under his wing.

“I met Mr. Lopez when I was coaching soccer, and I always knew I would do that one day,” Gonzalez said. “What is important to me is helping kids further their education and get off to a good start with their lives. We have the same philosophy.”

Lopez started CMU’s fruitful south Texas recruiting initiative more than four years ago. While quasi-retiring, he was scouting his own replacement.

“I knew right away that Sam was going to be the one,” said Lopez, himself a member of two halls of fame in south Texas. “He knows how to talk to people, and he wanted to know everything about this job. He asked a lot of questions.”

Gonzalez will recruit from more than 50 high schools in the Rio Grande Valley and Upper Valley area of south Texas. And he plans on continuing Lopez’s tradition of hosting a banquet each year to celebrate the academic achievements of area students going to CMU.

“It is important to continue the legacy of Mr. Ben Lopez,” Gonzalez said. “And we are naming the banquet after him.”

Gonzalez already has begun his recruitment efforts and will begin high school visits later this month. He still teaches at Johnny Economedes High School in Edinburg, Texas, but retired from coaching soccer after 21 years with nine district championships and 18 playoff appearances.

Gonzalez earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He has two children, David and Samuel Jr.

To reach Gonzalez, email him at

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