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Harlingen South hires hometown kid, Lyford’s Israel Gonzalez

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by Kevin Narro | RSL

HARLINGEN — Harlingen CISD approved former Lyford head coach Israel Gonzalez to become Harlingen South’s next head football coach and athletic coordinator Tuesday evening. 

Gonzalez will replace former Hawks head coach Brian Ricci, who was reassigned in November after five seasons.

Now headed back to Harlingen, Gonzalez said he is excited for the next chapter in his career but also expressed gratitude to Lyford.

“I have always wanted to make sure I give myself an opportunity to grow,” Gonzalez said. “This is always something I wanted to do was to always come back home. I was always committed and grateful that Lyford gave me an opportunity and I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for where I came from and for what I was able to do in Lyford. This decision was something I had to think about quickly and pray about.” 

Gonzalez spent four seasons at Lyford, directing the Bulldogs to the playoffs in each season and winning two bi-district titles. 

Prior to Lyford, Gonzalez spent 10 seasons at his alma mater, Harlingen High, and spent the last two of those campaigns as offensive coordinator before departing in 2017.

“First and foremost, I am happy to be back in the community,” Gonzalez said. “There are some differences with a 3A school and a 6A school, but at the end of the day, it is still connected to working with kids and playing football. I’m excited to be back and give back to the community I grew up in.” 

Gonzalez’s hiring Tuesday was the second in two days within District 32-6A after Los Fresnos hired former Brownsville Veterans Memorial athletic coordinator and head coach coach David Cantu on Monday. Mission High also found it’s new head coach from hiring within with assistant Daniel Longoria following Koy Detmer’s departure to Somerset — as the same position.

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