MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Longtime Valley running coach Tony Trejo died earlier this week at the age of 67 following a bout with colon cancer. 

“He took pride in what he did and had a passion for kids,” says Tony’s son, Jesse Trejo. “He grew up without a dad and became a father figure for many people.”

Tony coached cross country and track and field at Edcouch-Elsa, McAllen Memorial, Lyford, and Juarez-Lincoln. 

His high school coaching career lasted more than 40 years. 

Jesse has fond memories of being around his dad and going to run with him as a kid. 

“He used to have a big brown station wagon and everyone, the cousins would all load up in there and we’d all head to summer track practice,” said Jesse. “Like 10 of us piling out of the station wagon.”

Tony, who was born and raised in Edinburg, began his coaching career at Edcouch-Elsa in the late 1970’s. 

He was on the Yellow Jackets’ football staff.  

He left the school in the mid 1980’s, but not before making his mark on the school’s athletic department.

“A lot of the coaches tell me your dad built the track at Edcouch-Elsa,” said Jesse. “If he could, we would have built it with his own hands. He helped bring them a track, one of the all-weather tracks.” 

Tony’s next stop was at McAllen Memorial, where he had his longest coaching stint. 

He led the girl’s country team to great success. 

“In in the mid 1990’s his cross-country teams were back-to-back regional champions,” Jesse said. 

Jesse, who currently coaches cross country and track and field at McAllen Memorial, didn’t plan on following his father’s footsteps. 

He decided to give it a try following a conversation they had on Father’s Day in 2009. 

“We were there having barbecue, sitting on my uncle’s tailgate and he told me he needed me this summer to help him,” Jesse said. “A summer turned into a whole career. Now trying to honor his legacy with it.”