While the COVID-19 pandemic has put most of the sports world on pause, one Rio Grande Valley high school football coach has been making his mark on social media.

PSJA Memorial’s Marco Regalado, the Wolverines’ special teams coordinator, linebackers and boys powerlifting coach, has provided some comedic relief amid this shutdown.

Holed up at home, Regalado turned to TikTok, a video-sharing social network which allows users to get creative and have fun with short clips.

“I was just kind of sitting in my apartment bored. I figured everybody else was bored, too. So I thought let me make a funny video,” he said. “I had been uploading videos of me playing guitar and singing, and people were enjoying them, but I thought let me try something different.”

Trying something different resulted in striking social media gold, as Regalado began parodying coaches and the often intense, yet hilarious situations they’re faced with. It didn’t take long for the videos to go viral on social media sites like Twitter and TikTok.

Since Regalado began posting his videos on social media, his follower count on Twitter has ballooned from hundreds to thousands. His videos typically receive hundreds of retweets, shares and thousands of likes for their comedy and relatability to the sports world.

“I really wasn’t anticipating it blowing up the way it did and reaching so many people. It was just something I did for my own coaching circle of friends and my family, just trying to put a smile on somebody’s face,” he said.

Amid the pandemic, the University Interscholastic League canceled all athletic activities for the remainder of the school year, and professional leagues like the NBA, MLB and more postponed their seasons.

Whether re-creating the coaches’ weekly meetings, impersonating different coaches or portraying the “old-time coach,” one of Regalado’s personal favorites, the videos are easy to connect with. If one has played sports, not necessarily just football, the videos strike a chord with coaching phrases and mannerisms frequently used by coaches. Regalado said he’s simply drawing on his own life experiences.

Some who viewed Regalado’s videos on social media sent him messages telling him how much they needed a laugh in their lives.

“People kept tweeting at me and sending me direct messages saying to keep doing what I’m doing, and I’m doing something bigger than I thought I was, which was bringing laughs and happiness to people in this time where most people are pretty bummed out,” Regalado said. “I just thought I could do my part and continue to make these videos because it’s fun for me. I have a theater background. I’m having a blast doing them, but the fact that people are enjoying them is what keeps me going.”

Growing up, Regalado said he was never really known as a jokester. But now, he has people laughing, quite literally, all over the world. The comedic movie genre is one of Regalado’s favorites, featuring actors like Steve Carrell, Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen. Regalado said he can even quote the “Nacho Libre” movie from start to finish.

His videos aren’t just relatable to high school football fans, either. They’ve reached the college and professional football levels with NCAA, NFL and XFL coaches watching, laughing and sharing within their own coaching circles.

Earlier this week, Regalado joined a virtual coaching clinic run by University of Texas football coach Bob Shipley on Zoom, a video-conferencing platform. Once the clinic was over, Shipley asked if there were any questions. Regalado typed out his question in the chat box, “When is the next clinic?” When Shipley realized Regalado was the one asking the question, the Texas football coach told the PSJA Memorial coach the Longhorns staff was getting a kick out of his videos.

“You’re stuff is great, we love it. The staff here at UT, we all send each other the videos and share them,” Shipley said to Regalado.

“That was a big ‘wow’ moment for me to find out the staff at the University of Texas was sharing my videos with each other,” Regalado said.

Regalado grew up in Zapata, where he played on the offensive line for the Hawks football team. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Texas State, while also working as an intern with the Bobcats’ strength and conditioning program. After Texas State, Regalado earned his Master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Kingsville, while serving as a graduate assistant coach with the Javelinas football team.

Upon graduation, Regalado chose to try coaching football at the high school ranks with a two-year stop at Santa Gertrudis Academy in Kingsville and a one-year stint at Mathis. After his year at Mathis, David Brown II was named the head football coach and athletic coordinator at PSJA Memorial. Brown, who was TAMUK’s defensive coordinator while Regalado was a graduate assistant working with the defensive line, offered him a spot on the Wolverines’ coaching staff.

Regalado said he’s enjoying making people laugh and smile with his videos, but his No. 1 passion is his career as a coach. Helping mold and shape teenagers into good students, good athletes and productive members of society is what matters most to Regalado.

“I feel like I have to work twice as hard to prove that I’m worthy. Even now, I’m making these videos and it’s all fine and dandy. I’m making people laugh. But I don’t just want to be the TikTok coach,” Regalado said. “I take my profession very seriously, and anybody that I’ve ever worked for, and my references, can attest that I’m extremely professional and I handle my business.

“Yes, I make people laugh, but when it’s appropriate. I love what I do. I’m extremely passionate about the profession, and I’m willing to do what it takes, use whatever resources it takes, so that I can be the best, so that I can make my kids the best. That’s just something I’ve always believed. I’m very proud of where I come from, South Texas, Zapata, the 956. It’s always been one of my goals to bring as much information as I can and spill it back into this area.”

Regalado and his videos can be found on social media at @CoachRegalado on Twitter and TikTok.

bramos@themonitor.com