EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — An expanding spirit program is coming to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

For the spirit program, this has started a recruiting frenzy for a new team of coaches to kickstart the initiative.

Isela Gomez, new head coach of UTRGV Spirit Programs, with Rodolfo “Rudy” Mata, new program coordinator of Spirit & Traditions, at the UTRGV Fieldhouse on the Edinburg Campus. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

First up was Isela “Sel” Gomez, a UTRGV alumna, who was welcomed back in September as the new head coach for the spirit program. She will lead and support cheer, dance and the Vaquero mascot, along with working with Rudy Mata, the new program coordinator for spirit and traditions.

Gomez graduated from legacy institution UTPA with a bachelor’s degree in dance with an emphasis on ballet and modern dance, and was a dedicated member of the UTPA Modern Dance Company.

Upon revisiting the dance studio, she said everything felt the same — from the look to the smells to seeing a poster of her senior project. It really felt like coming home.

“It was an instinct to come back home. To come back where my roots were, to come back where I learned a lot of the experiences in the dance world,” she said. “Getting to return to campus and be part of it in a different aspect – and to be that person to give back – it really sealed the deal.”