The Taos News - Taos County All-Stars 2018-2019
MAKING A DREAM INTO REALITY: ART ABREU JR.
Coach Art Abreu Jr. knew what he wanted and how to get it. Once he set his sights on the state championship, he didn’t waiver.
From a lifetime of exposure to football coaching, Abreu gathered that success was all about people: his coaching staff, the players, their teachers, tutors and families. To reach its potential, the football program needed to feel united – one single family with one goal.
Coach Abreu surrounded himself with the best people he could find. Transforming a football program into a state champion football program was going to take all of his resources, most especially human resources: his father, coach Art Abreu Sr., his former Robertson teammate, Miguel Lucero, his cousin Ramon Abreu and a coach who’d known the players since they were young, Tom Good.
Complete dedication is a high expectation, and it took a couple years for the new coach to get the buy-in he needed from the athletes. As the students who were freshman when he arrived in 2015 grew into the leaders of the 2018 state champion team, coach Abreu’s way became the way.
“They know who each other are,” he said of his team.
Over the four years he’s been coaching at Taos, Abreu took a team with a 5-6 record in 2015 and a season ended by Bloomfield in the first round of the state championship tournament, to a 6-5 season in 2016, an 8-4 season in 2017 and a second-round loss to Portales in state, and finally to a 12-1 season in 2018 and the Class 4A state championship.
Of their 2018 season, Abreu said, “We’ve seen the bad, the good, the ugly and the terrible,” where “the terrible” was ending their seasons earlier than they should have in the early years, “Bad: St. Pius. Ugly: Grants. Good: Bloomfield.” Good might be an understatement.
On hearing that YAFL players who attended the championship felt inspired to win one of their own, Abreu said, “Really? That’s so cool! Almost cooler than winning.” And after a pause, he added, laughing, “Not really, though.” A championship mentality requires that nothing be more important than reaching that goal. Except love.
Every player we spoke to called the team “a family.” To inspire such devotion and such certainty that his players are loved, unconditionally, is perhaps Abreu’s greatest accomplishment, one even beyond the blue trophy itself.
In the mission of creating a family, Abreu had one more person on staff – his wife, Chloe. “She’s an angel of God and without her none of this would be possible.”
Dedication to football is a year-round affair. It’s early June, and the team is already back on the practice field Monday through Friday,
6 a.m. to 10 a.m.