The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the Gonzales Apaches athletic program from working to improve their department.
Athletic director Mike Waldie and newly-promoted girls athletic director Joey Carrizales have spent the last month piecing together what they hope will be a program of sustained success. One of the ways the Apaches have improved their program is by promoting from within.
“Since day one, I like to promote from within, and then hire their replacements,” Waldie told the Inquirer.
Boys soccer team finds its coach
One key promotion within the department is naming football defensive coordinator Charlie Bunch the new head boys soccer coach.
According to Waldie, Bunch brings to the program great experience and expertise. Current coach of the year William Holifield will be his assistant.
“First, I want to say that I am very excited about the opportunity to become a part of the Apache men’s soccer program,” Bunch said. “Coach [Greg] Ramirez has done an amazing job the past six years developing and leading this elite program. My goal as the new men's soccer coach will be to continue the success this program has become accustomed to. Coach Ramirez has left some very big shoes to fill but I am fully confident in my ability to continue helping this program grow and build lasting relationships with its players.”
Although Bunch was hired last year as the defensive coordinator and head powerlifting coach, he has plenty of experience in soccer, playing as far back as the age of 8, while continuing on through high school and playing then as a four-sport athlete.
“While at San Antonio Madison High School, I was a four-year starter and All District selection for the Maverick Men’s Soccer Team at Midfield,” he said. “My dream was to play college soccer for UIW with a number of old teammates until an accident with a pressure washer almost took my right foot the summer after my senior year. I was able to return from this injury, going on to play college football a year later with limited feeling in my right foot.”
“While in college,” he continued, “I was honored and selected as the Conference Defensive MVP, All American in 1996 and then inducted into the 2019 SRSU Athletic Hall of Honor. I believe the reason I had so much success on the football field in high school and college was a direct result of what I learned on the soccer field when it comes to overall athleticism. While in college I continued playing men's league soccer in San Antonio when home for summer breaks as well as while coaching in the San Antonio area.”
Next school year will be Bunch’s 24th year as a coach. With state title expectations, Bunch is excited for the opportunity to lead the Apaches to achieve those lofty goals.
New boys’ junior high coordinator named
Earlier this school year, Joey Carrizales was the lone man taking on the junior high coordinator position. After his move to girls athletic director, Waldie and Carrizales decided the best move would be to hire two coaches for that position, one person to take over the boys’ side of the junior high and another to take over the girls’ side.
“I just felt like before, a lot of people saw [the girls athletic director position] as a high school job,” Waldie explained, “and I want to see that as a 7th grade – 12th grade job, just like my athletic director job.”
With that decision made, Waldie believed it would be better to split the job into two different coordinator positions. And with that, Waldie again promoted from within, naming John Patek as the boys’ junior high coordinator.
Patek has been coaching at Gonzales Junior High for the last four years. From 2009-2012, he coached at Gonzales High, before moving to New Braunfels to coach at Canyon Middle School from 2012-2016.
A local guy, Patek graduated high school from Shiner St. Paul then attended Texas State University where he earned a bachelor of exercise and sports science.
“Growing up in school, I played football, basketball, baseball, and track,” he said.
“I am excited about the opportunity to be the Junior High Boys Coordinator,” he added. “I look forward to continuing the athletic success in our program and working with our athletes and coaches. I am thankful to have a very supportive wife and family.”
He is married to Lindsay Patek. They have three sons, Jacob Patek, Eli Patek and Jordan Patek.
Former Apache takes over GJHS girls’ program
Staying with the theme of promoting from within, Waldie and Carrizales named Jillian Gonzales the girls’ junior high coordinator. Gonzales started working for the district in 2014 as an eighth grade math and algebra teacher, while also coaching volleyball, basketball and track at the junior high.
She graduated from Gonzales High School before earning a bachelor in finance at Texas State University.
“As a proud former Lady Apache, the opportunity to work with the students of Gonzales ISD over the past six years has been a dream come true,” she said. “I am excited about my new role as a JH Girls’ Coordinator and will strive to produce student-athletes that will add to the pride of our community.”
Gonzales has a daughter name Jordyn who is entering the sixth grade.
“I’m looking forward to get to coach her in a year when she comes to the Lady Apache program.”