“When you do the right things, good things happen,” says Coach Carlos Abril. “And when you do wrong things, invariably bad things tend to happen.”
Making sure his young athletes are doing the things necessary for success in sport and life is a daily focus for Coach Abril at Coral Gables High School.
Coach Abril currently serves in three coaching roles at Gables- offensive line coach for the Cavaliers football team under head coach Roger Pollard, assistant coach of the men’s basketball team under head coach Tico Govea, and this year assisting with the women’s basketball team.
Coach Abril says that he sees coaching as an investment in the next generation.
“Kids today, just like kids since time began, need to be taught how to be successful at life,” said Coach Abril. “These are skills that need to be identified, coached and worked at.”
Coach Abril says that raising his eight kids inspired him to dedicate himself to coaching full-time in his sixties after a lifetime working in the real estate business after coming to the United States at age 7 from Cuba.
“Like everyone, I’ve lived a lot of lives and faced my fair share of challenges,” said Coach Abril. “As they say- ‘no one gets out of here alive’ and the key is to attack each day as if it is the last, even when the overall picture can be overwhelming.”
“I know how overwhelming life can be. I lost my first wife, Joan to breast cancer at age 44 with three young girls and a teenage son,” said Coach Abril. “I remember people asking me, what are you going to do with those four kids? Who’s going to take care of them?”
“Without a thought, I had to keep going, for me and for them. There was no time for feeling sorry for yourself. Sure it wasn’t fair that they lost their mother at such a young age, but I wasn’t going to quit on them or let them quit on themselves.”
Abril remarried and has been with his current wife Caty for 25 years. He raised her son from a previous marriage and they had a daughter and twin sons together.
“Each of my children is so special to me and inspire me by showing me what is really important in life, even when they don’t think that I’m listening, I am,” said Abril.
Coach Abril often cites a quote by Wayne Dyer for inspiration- When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
“I want these young people to know that no matter how bad things are in their families or at home- and they can be real bad- there is good that can come out of it if you do the right things and don’t give up” said Coach Abril. “There is goodness in all these young people and it is our job as teachers and coaches to bring that out and give them a chance to express it.”
Coach Abril cites the efforts of the coaches that surround him to fulfill that mission. “Every day after practice I listen intently to Coach Pollard as he delivers profound well thought out self-help talk to all the young men on the team on the importance of doing the right things,” said Coach Abril. “I see how hard Vice Principal Mr. Joseph Evans works to make sure that no young man is left behind. I see how hard Coach Govea works on making sure that his entire basketball team gets to college. I’m blessed to be surrounded by these and many other warriors/educators.”
“Although we’re in the business of winning games, this has to be thought of as a much greater calling than just coaching sports. What we do today with these young men can ultimately be the culminating factor in which direction a life turns. This is real life.”
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