Freer community mourns death of beloved coach

Staff Writer
Alice Echo News Journal
Coach Leal passes way from a stroke. Freer community, family and friends mourn the loss of their coach.

FREER – The community of Freer lost a beloved coach on Saturday, Aug. 8 after he suffered a stroke.

Rodolfo “Rudy” Leal, 67, was born in Freer and graduate from Alice High School Class of 1971. According to his family, Leal was a teacher and coach for Ben Bolt, Alice, Freer and Benavides school districts for more than 20 years.

“A beloved Freer Coach passed away today,” said the Freer Athletic Booster's Facebook page. “Coach Rudy Leal was loved by many and influenced many lives – not only in Freer, but everywhere he went.”

Leal was known for the love of his community especially teaching his students, enjoying his family, making the best out of each day.

The Facebook page shared a message from Leal's daughter, Delicia Leal Saenz, that said, “We take pride knowing that he was loved by so many and we have no doubt that he felt that love. He was a great husband, father, coach and community role model. As will all legends, he will live forever through those he influenced.”

Leal also worked as an aquatic director for the City of Alice and was a swim coach for multiple swim teams across South Texas, impacting the lives of hundreds of youth in the process. After retiring as a teacher and coach, he began working as a personal trainer and co-founded the Old Skool Gym, based in Freer. In the summer, Leal hosted a Red Cross Lifeguard Certification training.

He is survived by his wife of over 35 years of marriage, Sylvia P. Leal, his children Rodolfo Leal Jr., Lucas Leal, Delicia Leal Saenz and Falina Mejia, and 13 grandchildren.

Coach Rudy Leal touched the lives of everyone. In June, Leal taught a Red Cross Lifeguard Certification class.