MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — For many young athletes it takes hard work, grit and sometimes a moment of reflection to reach goals that will take you to the next level.

Yet, there are leaders out in the field who make sure you get there. Coaching football has always been a dream for Patrick Shelby.

Shelby is the athletic coordinator and head football coach at McAllen High School for the past 4 years.

Coach Shelby said coaching in the Valley has been a great experience for him.

“I was blessed to come down here and 2012 to help open up high school Robert Vela High School there in Edinburg and ever since then it’s been a blessing,” Coach Patrick Shelby said.

The Lubbock native played sports in school yet later fell in love with football. Shelby would then go on to start coaching, but says there were good people that taught him important principles on the way.

“There’s always something that’s going to stick with you as an athlete when you really pay attention to your coaches the biggest thing that’s always stuck with me is sacrifice commitment and hard work,” Shelby said.

It’s important now to now pass it on to the next generation as Shelby says he sees himself telling his young athletes the same things he was told.

“Yes, always. You know we always teach our kids don’t run away from it you just got to attack it straight forward to weather the storm and get through the storm the fastest way is straight ahead so how are you going to respond in tough situations?” Shelby added.

According to the McAllen school district officials, Coach Shelby is believed to be the first black head coach in the program’s history.

Shelby said even though many of his students may not look like him, he’s still able to connect and relate to his athletes while helping them rise from adversity from a different lens.

“The things that the kids are doing right now it’s nothing new it’s been around since we we’re younger also, so hey, this is how we handled situations back then how about you look at it from this standpoint instead of looking at it as a negative how can we overcome it and how can get through it in a positive way,” Shelby said.

When cheering on the bull dogs, know that the purple and gold is not just a team but a family made up of dedicated educators, hardworking athletes, and leaders who support them.

“It’s pretty neat I’m just thankful that everybody accepted me for who I was and see the body of work that I have been able to put forward since day one and a lot of support from each and every one of them, whatever they need from me I’m always going to back them up and they always back me up,” Shelby said.