By Mary Granath Posted June 3, 2009
What have you done in the last 30 years? If you posed this question to Vince Mendiola his response would most likely be something along the lines of ‘oh not much, a little bit of coaching, a little bit of teaching…’ In actuality, he’s done so much more.
In the past 30 years, Mendiola has received 14 Varsity letters, three All-State awards, and won five state championships as an athlete. Of the past 30 years, Mendiola has spent 23 of those years coaching, ten of them as Athletic Director, and all 30 of them teaching.
“He [Mendiola] believed in Lowry High School,” said Jim Billingsley, “and he wanted to see Lowry succeed because he was from here. He had roots and he had ties to this community, and just because of that pride in Winnemucca and LHS he wanted to see it succeed.
Every year schools across the country lose numerous employees, but Lowry will say farewell to an extremely influential person this year who will be especially missed- Vince Mendiola. “There is no way anyone has put in the time he has put in,” said Chad Peters, a family friend.
This is certainly true as Mendiola has now dedicated 27 years of his life coaching at Lowry, teaching for Lowry, and improving Lowry as a whole.
Mendiola started off his coaching career as almost every coach does- as an athlete. At Lowry High school Mendiola earned 11 Varsity Letters, three All-League and All-State awards in football, two Basketball State Championships, three Golf State Championships, and one Golf Individual State Runner-Up. Nevertheless, after all these awards Mendiola’s list of accomplishments is nowhere near complete. After he graduated in 1974 he was given a football scholarship at Boise State University, where he earned three Varsity football letters and was named 2nd Team All-Big Sky Conference Defensive Lineman in 1978.
After graduating from Boise State in 1979 Mendiola returned to his roots and began coaching and teaching at Lowry.
“I coached for seven years and I got tired, I can’t imagine doing it for 30,” stated Peters.
Of the many accomplishments Mendiola has wracked up, coaching four different sports is definitely one of them. Mendiola served as an assistant football coach for six years and head football coach for three years. He was head golf coach for 12 years and assistant basketball coach from 1982-1986 and again from 2002-2005.
Lastly, he also served as head basketball coach for ten years. It was when coaching basketball that Mendiola received Northern 2A coach of the year four times, once in 1988 and again in 1989 and then in 1991 and 1992. In 1992 he also received State coach of the year and led his team to a State Championship. Mendiola holds the record of most wins as head basketball coach as he guided Lowry to 155 victories during his reign.
For ten years Mendiola also served as Athletic Director.
“He coached a lot of different sports, and when he became an athletic director he was probably the best athletic director Humboldt County has ever seen,” said Billingsley. From 2003-2009 Mendiola was the Humboldt County School District Activities Director.
These may seem like enormous accomplishments, and while they certainly are they do not come close to comparing with Mendiola’s largest accomplishment yet and that is the lasting effect he has had on Lowry and its students.
“I am glad I got to know him because I know I am a better coach because I got to coach with Vince in my lifetime,” said Peters.
With somber hearts but bountiful gratitude, we say farewell to a coach, a teacher, and a friend. We thank Mr. Mendiola for all he has contributed to Lowry and everything he has done to help us succeed.