Merced County Times Newspaper
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El Capitan High School loses its athletic director

Lou Souza is leaving behind some big shoes to fill for El Capitan’s athletic programs.
Lou Souza is leaving behind some big shoes to fill for El Capitan’s athletic programs.

Lou Souza, El Capitan high school’s first Athletic Director has retired after 31 years as a teacher, coach and athletic director.

Souza retired at the end of the 2019 school year. He was selected as El Capitan’s first athletic director in 2011. While the new, (third) high school in Merced was built, Souza began putting together the school’s coaching staff. There were 14 staff positions to fill in order to accommodate the school’s boy’s and girl’s athletic programs.

When El Capitan opened its doors in 2013, Souza’s coaching staffs had been selected and were ready to go.

There were no juniors or seniors at El Capitan during the first two years of its existence (2013 and 2014), but Souza and his coaches spent many days and hours developing the young athletes in the different programs, and by the year 2015, these athletes were defeating their counter parts in the (WAC) Western Athletic Conference.

In 2016, El Capitan’s athletic program was moved to the (CCC) Central California Conference, and its varsity teams immediately began to make their presence known.

During his tenure as athletic director, Souza worked with the coaches and student athletes to develop a culture of dedication and hard work. He assisted coaches and athletes to overcome problems they encountered.

In 2016, as the new athletic director, Souza received the coveted California Schools Outstanding New Athletic Director’s “Norm McKenzie Award” for being the most outstanding new athletic director in California.

In 2019, El Capitan’s 14 athletic teams finished first or second in league competition.

Lou Souza has left a legacy at El Capitan High School of winning, both in the Western Athletic and Central California Conferences.

He will be missed but not forgotten, for the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame Committee unanimously nominated and awarded him a lifetime membership in the “Mighty Gaucho” Hall of Fame. Souza is the school’s first inductee.

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