Armed with a coaching philosophy of building strong lives, both mentally and physically – and a long history of coaching for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Debbie Martinez, the district’s new head volleyball coach, says she’s ready to bring unity to the volleyball program.
“I am going to unify seventh through varsity volleyball. It hasn’t been that way since Coach [Stephanie] Coates was here. I am going to bring back what was once here in Uvalde: Unity,” Martinez said.
“Coates was well known for bringing up these girls. I was blessed to have worked for her during that time. I learned so much from her.”
For the 2021-22 school year, Martinez was promoted to the junior high girls’ coordinator position as well as varsity head volleyball coach. She is replacing Russell McElroy, who resigned after four seasons as the UHS head volleyball coach.
She’s been with the district for 13 years and is stationed at the Morales Junior High campus, where she teaches physical education and coaches athletic classes for seventh- and eighth-grade girls.
For 12 of those years, Martinez has also coached volleyball, basketball and track at the junior high level and has assisted in high school volleyball and track.
“I love my job,” Martinez said. “It’s a job that I wake up and pray for me to have a positive impact on someone daily.”
To create those positive impacts, Martinez says she works to build relationships with her students.
“The age group I work with are girls who are barely learning about themselves, and it is important to educate them in the most positive way to make them young positive girls,” she said. “Social media sometimes plays a negative impact on people and I do my best to keep them strong mentally and physically. Building relationships with these girls helps me with that.”
Personally, Martinez said, she herself was a seventh-grader when she first felt the impact a coach can have on someone’s life.
For her, it was her track coach, Rex Jackson.
“…He made me want to be an athlete and coach,” she reflected.
As a coach and teacher, she said several fellow coaches have inspired her, including Coach Coates and Coach Tammye Coggins.
She said a mentor at her campus has been Susan Trevino.
“They led strong programs and dominated in their sport. These women changed my way of coaching for the better. I learned a lot from these women and have influenced me to always work hard – and I saw how the athletes had total respect for these women,” Martinez said.
She said heading into the new school year, she plans to bring the best of herself to practice and at school.
“My goal is to bring positivity and motivation like the people who molded me in my coaching profession,” Martinez said.
Martinez lives in Uvalde with her husband, Philip, and their two dogs, Sadie and Heidi.
They have two daughters who live in San Antonio, Sarah and Lexie.
“I started with the intentions of being with the district to be closer to my girls and having off when they were off,” Martinez said.
“Well, little did I know that I would be blessed to have coached them and do my job all at the same time. Now that they are off in San Antonio building amazing futures for themselves, I have taken on an amazing new adventure, varsity volleyball,” Martinez said.