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Longtime CHS coach Sue Garcia steps down
Sue Garcia (middle) coached at Ceres High School for 30-plus years. Garcia stepped down recently to spend more time with her family. Shes pictured with former Bulldog swimmers Julia Pata and Dylan Hines. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Sue Garcia's coaching career at Ceres High School spanned more than three decades.

Garcia stepped down as leader of the Bulldogs' swim program last month.

"It wasn't an easy decision," said Sue, who also coached volleyball in the past. "I've been coaching for 32 years. I explained to the kids I need to move on to the next phase, which is to give some time to those that raised me."

Ceres High athletic director/former varsity girls basketball head coach Shawna Nunes met Garcia for the first time in 1991.

"It's a big loss for us," Nunes said. "She deserves recognition for all that she has done. She's been a mentor to multiple coaches in different sports over the years. She had a great rapport with the kids. They really respected her. She was very knowledgeable in her sports. She was patient. She was organized. She didn't make hasty decisions."

Julia Pata, Ceres High's all-time greatest female swimmer, competed for Garcia for four years.

The 2017 grad qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships every season.

She won eight individual Western Athletic Conference titles.

"I understand her decision and it's what's best for her," Pata said. "The most enjoyable part about being coached by her was in the huddles after meets. She'd light up talking about how everyone did. She's an amazing woman and coach. She's very strict but always an upbeat person. She was always there when I needed help."

Tristan Freitas-Scott, a member of Ceres High's boys swim team from 2014-17, was stunned when he learned of Garcia's departure as head coach at the season-ending award banquet.

"We were shocked," he said. "But we understand why. Having her as a coach was fun. She's a chill person."

Garcia will continue to work at Ceres High.

She effectively juggled roles as wife, mother, teacher and coach during her coaching tenure with the Bulldogs.

Sue's two children graduated from high school and are college students.

"I had the kids in the gym when they were three to four weeks old when I was coaching volleyball," Garcia said. "I wouldn't change anything. Teaching P.E. is my passion. I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Coaching is icing on the cake even though it took a lot of time and energy. You can't do it unless you love it."