The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


Diaz leaves a lasting impact

Senior Abhishek Mukund’s eyes just stared blankly at Physical Education Coach Jorge Diaz. The senior was donating blood when the coach walked up to him and told him that Mukund was going to die. Then Diaz started laughing.

Naturally, Mukund panicked and Diaz had to pacify the senior.

“He was supposed to go home because he didn’t have anything due,” he said. “But he stayed for 20 minutes trying to help me calm down.”

This is one of Mukund’s memorable moments with Diaz, who resigned over winter break from his teaching position for a job in accounting. His sudden departure surprised many students.

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When she heard of Diaz’s departure, Physical Education Coach Mary Pat Bailey had mixed emotions.

“I was sad for me,” Bailey said, “but happy for him because he’s been working really hard to get a job. He went and got his masters and was interviewing and getting discouraged because everybody wanted experience. So when he got it, he was thrilled.”

Senior Hanson Le was extremely shocked.

“It was something really unexpected because he left in the middle of the year,” Le said. “I would expect him to leave at the end of [my] senior year.”

Diaz may have left without a goodbye, but it was not by his choice.

“Due to not being offered the job until the after the end of the semester I was unable to say goodbye,” he said in an email interview. “It is what it is. If I could change it, I would, but it was out of my control.”

Many of the coach’s former students miss him and remember him fondly.

Mukund, particular, sees Diaz as more than a coach

“He’s an inspiration to everyone here,” he said. “He was very friendly and helpful. Everyone could talk to him.”

Diaz feels the same. He didn’t see himself as a teacher.

“I felt like I was a ‘school dad’ to some of my kids,” he said. “[I’m] going to miss being a ‘school dad’ and going to miss everyone.”

To Bailey, Diaz was like a work spouse.

“We were together for 13 years,” Bailey said. “We didn’t even have to say, we knew what each other were thinking. I feel like my husband left me. We just had our roles and we just knew what to do.”

Diaz’s humor and excitement motivated Le to workout, but now, the gym isn’t as vibrant.

“It’s a little bit dead,” Le said. “It’s not as fun as usual because a lot of people left.”

Junior Julia Nguyen agrees.

“I lost one of the best teachers that influenced my life,” she said. “The only thing keeping me inside the gym [now] is my friends. Usually, it’s Coach Diaz.”

For sophomore Manjot Gahunia, Diaz played a role in everything.

“I respect him like a father,” she said, “see him as a teacher, but know him like a best friend. And I love that.”

However, gym life continues.

Mukund, especially, helps students adjust to the new arrangements. At the beginning of the term, he assisted during fourth period.

“I’ve taken a lot of responsibilities, trying to help Coach Bailey,” Mukund said. “I think people now see me as a substitute coach, including Coach Bailey.”

Because of students like Mukund, Bailey believes that her job load has not changed.

“Kids know what to do,” Bailey said. “They do what they need to do and it makes my job a lot easier.”

Gahunia feels that Bailey is doing a great job, but the gym is just not the same.

“P.E. right now without Coach is quiet,” Gahunia said. “Although Coach Bailey is strong and capable of handling so much work without her other half, a big part is missing.”

Some students also anticipate the arrival of a new coach.

“I’m opened to all possibilities,” Le said. “You never know. It shows a lot because when I first met Coach Diaz, I never thought I’ll be workout buddies with him, but we eventually were.”

Bailey knows that there will be room for new recollections.

“I feel really blessed,” she said, “That I have such a close working relationship with Coach Diaz. I miss him, but he moved on to fulfill his dreams and we’ll get somebody in here that’s working towards their dream.”

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