TWU assistant basketball coach Michael Madrid has always wanted to be a head coach. On Tuesday, Madrid reached that goal when he resigned from TWU to become the head women’s coach at Paris Junior College.
“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to lead a program, to be able to work with these student-athletes and watch them grow,” Madrid said. “I think the best thing about being a coach is you’re being put in a leadership role. I like being a leader and showing players how to be successful. It’s an evolving process.”
Madrid spent three years under TWU head coach Beth Jillson, helping the Pioneers win their first Lone Star Conference tournament championship in any sport. The Pioneers took down Central Oklahoma in the 2011 title game to advance to their first NCAA South Central Region tournament.
“I am excited for Michael to have this great opportunity to take over the reins at Paris,” Jillson said. “I appreciate all of his hard work, dedication and enthusiasm for Pioneer basketball. I have no doubt that he will be successful at PJC and take them to new heights.”
Madrid said he was drawn to the small-town vibe of Paris and the chance to connect with the players.
“The small community there is sort of like home to me,” Madrid said. “I grew up in a small town. It’s exciting because you get to work one on one with those student-athletes. Regardless of where I’m going to be at, the focus is always education. At some point basketball is going to end, and we want to make sure they have an education and improve their quality of life.”
Jillson was quick to credit Madrid for the intangibles he brought to TWU.
“Only having one full-time assistant, he helped with everything,” Jillson said. “He was a great teacher on the floor. He was very active with recruiting. He would do all our travel plans and would help with all the scouting reports.
“He was a great asset to our program.”
Madrid started coaching at Portales High School in New Mexico, helping it capture the 2001 Class 3A championship during his four years there (1998-2002). He went to Lubbock Estacado for a year and was the freshman coach. After two years at Lubbock High, he spent five years at Lubbock Christian under women’s head coach Steve Gomez, including four as an assistant.
“I enrolled at Lubbock Christian and decided to get a second master’s,” Madrid said. “I started talking to coach Gomez, and he mentioned there was a graduate position there. We played in a championship game, and after my first year as a graduate assistant, he hired me on as a full-time assistant.
“We actually ran a lot of stuff like that at TWU, and a lot of my coaching knowledge came from him.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in special education from Eastern New Mexico in 1998 and a master’s in sports administration in 2001, Madrid earned a master’s in education administration from LCU in 2007.
As a finalist for head coaching positions in the past, Madrid hadn’t jumped at a job if it wasn’t the right situation. He said Jillson was more than supportive of his head coaching desires.
“She taught me a lot about the Division II level as far as rules and regulations and the type of kid that can win at that level,” Madrid said. “Anytime a job would open up, she would ask if I was interested and if she needed to make some calls. We always had a good working relationship. She knew that I wanted to be head coach and that was my goal. She always looked out for me with what jobs would be good for me.”
Jillson said she felt lucky to have Madrid on her staff as long as she did.
“I think it looks great for our program that our assistants that are leaving are so driven,” Jillson said. “When I hired him I asked him for two years, and I was lucky to get him for three years. I’m happy for anybody to achieve their goals just like I am for our players.”
Jillson and TWU athletic director Chalese Connors will search for a replacement and have already had interest in the position through word of mouth.
As for Madrid, he said he hopes Paris is a place where he can fully develop as a team leader.
“I know that I’m not anywhere I want to be with the type of leader I want to be,” Madrid said. “It’s a daily process, and I need to keep on working on weaknesses. I think I’ll learn a lot about myself here, and that’s exciting. If nothing else, it’s going to make me a better person and make me a better coach.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.