JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
LUBBOCK — Marble Falls High School graduate and Lubbock High School baseball coach Steve Ribera laughed when asked how long it took him to get his 400th career win.
“Too long,” he said with a grin. “This is my 26th year as a head coach, 31 years total.”
The 1979 Marble Falls graduate played college baseball for Mary Hardin-Baylor and helped out the Belton High School baseball team during his final year in college. That turned into a job at Belton for four years.
He made a stop at Everman for two years before taking over as the head coach at South Vanderbilt Industrial HIgh School for five years and then Lubbock Roosevelt for two years.
His longest stop was at Canyon Randall for 10 years, guiding the Raiders to at least a share of the district crown nine times. He also raised a family. He took over at Cedar Hill, Tulia, Slaton, Borger and eventually at Lubbock High.
His career record is 400-298. Ribera noted his 2002 Randall team went 30-8 and was one win away from getting to the state tournament in Austin but lost to eventual champion Southlake Carroll.
“If you can’t play it, you got to coach,” he said. “We were a big baseball family. I played college ball but didn’t get a chance to go to the next level.”
Ribera realized he wanted to do more than manage a team; he wanted to teach athletes the fundamentals and basics of the sport.
As a result, he’s coached three players who were drafted: pitchers Chance Douglas and Brad Propst, who is now his Lubbock assistant, with the Houston Astros organization, and Charlie Griffin, who went to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After three decades of coaching, does he consider retirement?
“I could hand them the keys if I wanted to,” he said. “But I still have a passion and a burning desire to get to Austin. I’d love to have a family reunion at Dell Diamond during the state tournament. When the burning desire is gone, it’ll be time to get out.”