Garcia honored with reception

Published 1:26 am Sunday, March 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — Hundreds of well-wishers gathered in the Cathedral Elementary School cafeteria Saturday afternoon to say goodbye to a coaching legend.

The school hosted a reception for coach and athletic director Roy Garcia, who is retiring at the end of the school year and moving with his wife Sara to McKinney, Texas to be closer to his grandchildren.

Garcia and his wife stood in the reception line for over half an hour at the beginning just shaking hands and hugging people who came to give their best regards to the Cathedral athletic icon.

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“This is unforgettable,” Garcia said. “I just feel fantastic seeing everybody come out here.”

Sara Garcia thanked the school and community for all the support they have shown in arranging the reception.

“This is a wonderful turnout,” she said. “They just did a wonderful job with the food and decorations. This is really heartwarming.”

Even more heartwarming is the fact that Garcia’s entire family, including his sons, their wives and his grandchildren, attended the event.

“This is a beautiful thing the town has given him,” Garcia’s daughter-in-law Carolyn said. “It’s sad that he’s leaving here but we’re happy because they’ll be moving right next door to us in Texas. The grandkids have already asked if paw paw can coach their basketball team.”

Many of Garcia’s former students also came back to wish their former coach well, including current Atlanta Falcons defensive back Von Hutchins.

“He had a great dedication and service to the school and the state of Mississippi for decades,” Hutchins said. “I came back to show my support and dedication for him.”

Ward XX Alderman Jake Middleton also came to express his thanks for not only for what Garcia meant to Cathedral, but to the city of Natchez as well.

“He’s had such a major impact on so many kids over the last 40 years,” Middleton said. “He was involved in a lot of things around town. He was part of the Cathedral family.”