By Calvin Connors Posted April 18, 2012
Vince Mendiola is the first person to have achieved a state championship as a player, coach, and athletic director for the same sport (boy’s basketball) at the same school; and in February he was inducted into the Nevada Hall of Fame.
Born in 1955 and growing up in the 1960s there was no worry about cell phones, recording your favorite television show, or even computers. The only worry for Mendiola and his group of friends were getting home for dinner and when they would get together for the next basketball, football, or baseball game. Growing up his dad was there for him in anything he did such as sports, academics, and just a good guy to be around.
“My dad was very influential, he supported everything he did, he coached me in everything I did,” said Mendiola.
A few of Mendiola’s neighborhood friends were, Dave Mendiola, Joe Dendary, Mitch Woods, and Jim Billingsley. Growing up, Mendiola and his neighborhood friends played football across from the hospital, they played basketball at the Grammar School where the best asphalt basketball courts were back in the day.
Mendiola graduated from high school in 1974 with 11 varsity letters and. He was named to the 2A all-Northern and All-State First Team in football three times. He started on the school’s 1973 (junior season) and 1974 (senior season) state championship basketball teams. He was the lead player on the school’s 1972, 1973 and 1974 state championship golf teams and was the Class 2A state tournament’s individual runner-up in his senior year. Mendiola earned a football scholarship to play at Boise State University, where he lettered in three of his four seasons and earned Second Team all-Big Sky Conference honors as a defensive lineman in 1978.
Mendiola graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from BSU in the spring of 1979 and returned to Winnemucca that fall. Mendiola started his educational career as a physical education teacher at the junior high school. His first coaching role at the high school was that of an assistant in football. Mendiola also assisted, over the course of his career at the high school level, as an assistant in boy’s basketball (1982-1986 and 2002-2005) and baseball (1982).
Mendiola’s first varsity head coaching opportunity came in 1985 with the football team. He took over at the helm of the boy’s basketball program in 1988 and led the Buckaroos on a remarkable nine-season run. His teams compiled a 156-89 record, capturing the state title in 1992. Vince was selected as the 2A Northern Coach of the Year four times (1988, 1989, 1991, 1992) and the state Coach of the Year following his team’s state championship season. He also coached the golf teams from 1988 through 1997.
Mendiola assumed the responsibility of Athletic Director in 1999. His first go-round went two years, and his second lasted six (2003-2009). He served 20 times as a Northern league/region tournament director and six times as a state championship event director. Vince’s directorship scope went beyond the 2A/3A, as his staff was greatly responsible for re-uniting all of the state wrestling finals under one roof and for making the Winnemucca Event Center also a home base for small-enrollment classification school post-season basketball extravaganzas.
He was selected the 3A’s Athletic Director of the Year in 2004. He was named the Nevada Athletic Directors Association’s Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2006.
Vince and his wife, Joyce, have a daughter, Chelsea, and a son, Louis. He as been a member of Century Club since 1979, The Whitworth Foundation, and the Winnemucca Volunteer Fire Department (1990-2009). (courtesy of the NIAA Hall Of Fame).
Mendiola’s favorite quote is reflects on his past records and his goals that he has received.
“’Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing’,” said Mendiola.