Editor’s Note: This is the first in a multi-part series on the coaches at Seguin, Navarro and Marion high schools. Have a favorite coach? Contact Kevin Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seguin head basketball coach Dwayne Gerlich wasn’t even aware of where he was in the win column.
But somebody at the school was — and there may have been nobody more shocked than he was when they told him he was just four wins shy of 400 victories in his high school coaching career.
“I try not to keep up with that too much, that just shows my age,” Gerlich said. “It’s a lot of games to coach, but I’ve had a lot of good kids that played for me — that always helps. I’m more into watching the kids succeed, I get a joy out of watching them win — it doesn’t matter what I do.”
From a family of educators, Gerlich was born in Guadalupe County Hospital and grew up in La Vernia, just southeast of Seguin.
After graduating high school in 1981, Gerlich attended and played basketball at Texas Lutheran.
The school was NAIA at the time, but that didn’t mean they weren’t playing some tough competition.
“We played some really good teams over the years,” Gerlich said, recalling some pretty famous opponents while he was in college.
“We played the Southwest Conference schools in non-conference play, at least one or two or a year.”
But it was a game against “Phi Slama Jama,” that he remembers most.
“We played against the University of Houston Cougars when they lost in the national championship with Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler,” Gerlich said. “I won’t tell you what the score was, but they did beat us.”
He began his coaching career right after graduation in 1985, coaching at six schools over what is now a 34-year career.
It was 11 years ago that he returned to his roots in Seguin.
“I started out here, was born here, went to school here, and a little over 20 years later, was fortunate enough to get the Seguin job,” he said.
Gerlich’s first coaching stop was as an assistant in Coppell, near the DFW metroplex, but after a couple of years there Gerlich got his first head coaching job in Hondo.
“I was lucky enough to get my first head coaching job when I was pretty young,” he said. A head coaching job at Floresville for four years preceded his entry into the larger classifications in San Antonio.
While in San Antonio, as the head coach at Roosevelt High School, Gerlich coached a couple of players that went on to play football in the NFL. Quincy Butler played for several teams including the Dallas Cowboys and Carlyle Holiday played quarterback for Notre Dame before playing wide receiver in the NFL. He also coached against some Texas High school legends, including Alamo Heights coach Charlie Bogges, who was inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall-of-Fame in 2017.
Probably his greatest success came at Roosevelt, where he was the head coach for nine years and in 2002 took his team to the 4A state tournament in Austin.
“We got to the final four and played in the Erwin Center, what an experience,” Gerlich said. “It was such a blur at the time — Everybody says to enjoy the experience, don’t worry about it so much, but that’s hard to do. We drew Dallas Lincoln that year with Chris Bosh — and they were ranked No. 1 in the nation.”
While they didn’t win the game, his squad played Lincoln tough to trail by just two at the half, and then to lose by just “eight or nine,” in front of a capacity crowd.
“I was really happy for the kids,” Gerlich said. “The tallest player I had was 6-foot-3, and they competed so hard and so well. Because of Bosh being there it was sold out, there were 16,000 people there.
“Of course you want to win it all, everybody wants to win a state championship. But I was very fortunate to get to the state tournament, most people don’t realize how hard it is. It’s one of those coaching things that you’ll always remember.”
Gerlich came to Seguin in 2008, and the competition for the Matadors in district play has been more than tough in his 11 years here.
“We were moved up in 2009 and the next year we were playing Judson, Steele, Wagner and New Braunfels,” he said. “It was one of the year’s where the kids in Seguin showed toughness, grit and got after it.”
The Mats went 1-4 through the first five games in district play, but turned things around to go 5-0 in the second half of league play and made the playoffs.
“We beat Judson at home and then traveled to Wagner and beat them there,” Gerlich said. “We kind of got over the hump that year, so it was great for the kids.”
Gerlich also got to coach both of his sons, Brig and Brock, in his time at Seguin.
“Some of the best moments where when we got to drive home in the truck after the game,” Gerlich said.
“I got to experience everything they did with their teammates and I got to be dad too. I learned to be more positive and I think I became a better coach because of that — I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
Seguin made the playoffs again in 2017, and gave Gerlich one of his favorite coaching memories when the team made ESPN’s top plays with a last-second playoff win Austin Lanier.
The game was tied when Mark Garcia made a steal at half court, took one step and launched a shot from midcourt as the buzzer sounded.
“I was watching the shot from the sidelines and I remember thinking ‘Just go in ball, just go in,’” Gerlich said. “I just followed it in, and down it went. You hear about that sometimes — it’s usually a regular season game, but you don’t hear of it very often when it’s a playoff game.”
“Everybody had their cell phones out, so there were so many different angles. Within an hour it was tweeted out, was all over YouTube - and somebody sent it to ESPN that night. It was number 10 on their Top Plays that night.It was a great moment for the kids and the community. If you had to pick one moment since I’ve been here, that was it.”
Gerlich goes for that 400th win next season, his 12th season at Seguin High School.
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.