After spending 23 years coaching up the ranks in Donna Independent School District, Juan Cuevas now has the opportunity to lead a football program in his hometown, as Donna ISD announced his hiring as Donna North’s new head football coach and athletic coordinator this week.
“I’m very grateful that I’m getting the opportunity to be the head coach at Donna North High School. I’m very proud to be part of the Donna North family,” Cuevas said. “Being from Donna, it’s one community, and I’m very proud to have the opportunity to be a head coach of a football program, especially in my hometown.”
A 1992 graduate of Donna High School, Cuevas began his coaching career at W.A. Todd Middle School in Donna after graduating from Texas A&M in 1996. Two years later, Cuevas made the jump to Donna High School to coach the Redskins where he served as a freshman coach and eventually as defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator and head track and field coach with a focus on pole vault.
“It’s been a dream of mine and it came to reality. I’m just grateful and blessed to have the opportunity,” Cuevas said. “One thing that will be clear is that we’re there to serve these student-athletes to be successful in the classroom and athletic world. After 23 years, it’s my next step and I feel I’m ready for it. If we all work together, we’re going to create a great environment at Donna North and do the right thing to lead our student-athletes in the right direction.”
As a student at Donna High, Cuevas played varsity football, baseball and competed in the pole vault in track and field. As a coach at Donna, he worked alongside former Redskins head coaches Bruce Bush, Dave Evans, Tom Chavez, Manny Moreno and Ramiro Leal.
Cuevas credits the coaches he played for and coached alongside, as well as his high school teachers, for molding him into the person he is today.
“I’m lucky to have had great coaches and exceptional teachers throughout my educational career with Donna ISD that made a great influence on me. I am what I am today because of them, and I do what I do today to give back to my community,” Cuevas said. “I take a lot of pride in that. I was one of these students, and I know if we coach and we teach to make a difference and positive impact in their life so they become something greater, nothing gives more satisfaction than that.”
Cuevas now takes over a Donna North Chiefs football program that is 0-20 on the football field over the past two years. Donna North’s new football district for the 2020-21 seasons include Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Rivera, Harlingen High, Harlingen South, Los Fresnos, San Benito and Weslaco High.
While his work is cut out for him, Cuevas is looking forward to the challenge of building the Chiefs into winners in athletics and in the classroom.
“I understand that it’s a fairly new program and we have to create our own tradition at Donna North,” Cuevas said. “Donna High School has a rich tradition that’s been around for a very long time and it’s something to be proud of being the RGV’s only state champion. But at Donna North, we need to create our mark, and it starts in taking pride in what we do, having high standards that we’re not going to settle for less. We’re in a tough district, we’re going to respect our opponents, but we’re not going to fear anybody, and that just comes from preparation as we coach our student-athletes to work hard, be sound in what they do, and we’ll put them in position to be successful.”