Sports > Schools
Top 10 Plano Sports Stories of 2012: 1. 35 Special: Weir closes book on legendary coaching career
At some point, the 0:00 on a scoreboard denotes the end of a varsity soccer team's season.
On April 13 at Midland's Grande Communications Stadium, the three zeroes on the scoreboard of the Region I Semifinal between the Plano Senior and El Paso Bel Air boys soccer teams didn't just signify the end of the Wildcats' season -- a 1-0 loss -- it embodied the end of an era and the final match of longtime head coach Bob Weir's career.
It's a moment that had become inevitable as Weir's Wildcats played deeper and deeper into the playoffs, one that had been building since the coach's postgame talk with his team on March 20 following a 2-1 victory over Lewisville.
It was then Weir let his players know of his intentions to retire at the end of the season, instantly triggering a motivation for the Wildcats to go for one more state title to put alongside the state-record six others Plano had already won.
The Wildcats fell shy, but the team's lengthy postseason run re-emphasized the consistency and high level of play that surrounded Weir's final years with the program.
Whether it was the ledger of state titles -- captured in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2009 -- or going the past seven seasons without a bi-district playoff elimination, Weir helped establish Plano as one of the state's most revered programs.
"I felt like the level of play at Plano Senior was always extremely high," said Corben Bone, Plano alum and National Soccer Coaches Association of America Player of the Year with the Wildcats. "The competition was high and coach Weir knew how to get us ready, to train and knew how to play the game properly so that definitely helped me become the player I am."
As did on-field dedication to correcting a player's mistakes and helping their overall skill set.
"(Weir has) helped me through some times where I wouldn't do what he asked," said Ramon Gallegos, Plano senior. "I'd ask him what he wants me to do better and he'd show me exactly where I went wrong and what I needed to do, and he'd improve my soccer."
Gallegos was a part of the 2011 Plano squad that was denied a crack at the state tournament after falling shy in the Region I Finals.
"On the bus, we were all sad and tearing up," Gallegos said. "And to see coach tear up also, that shows that he loves the game and how badly he wanted us to win."
Weir also aided in college recruiting and guidance for the future. In Bone's case, the soccer stalwart also played basketball and credits Weir for helping carve a path that currently has Bone with Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.
"Not only did we have great teams but we had a great core and all got along," he said. "That's one thing that I think you can see in a great coach, not only his ability to teach soccer but to also groom young men who are growing up and getting ready for college."
And of course, there are the unforgettable traits of the coach himself.
From the unmistakable Boston accent to his quotable adages which became so notable that on one previous Senior Night, each student listed his favorite Weir saying.
"Always use my right," said Tony Santibanez, Plano senior. "He'd always beg for me to use my right."
"He's always telling me to cross the ball first time," Gallegos added, "or pass it first time, instead of taking the extra touch."
Just as those sayings will stay with players for years to come, Weir's 35-year career with the Wildcats will be inscribed throughout the Texas high school soccer history books, from his inaugural season at Plano in 1977 to the team's mud-soaked state title in 1991 and the five that followed, to recording his 500th win in January, to the final seconds of the regional semifinal match against Bel Air -- closing the curtain on one of the state's most illustrious coaching careers.
"(Weir is) always positive and looking out for the kids," said Jimmy Dowell, West head coach. "He's won all there is to win in high school soccer. I wish him the best and I hope I see him away from the game.
"We're all friends off the field and it's great to see him going away on a good note."
"Bob graduated from Midwestern and then I went to Midwestern, so I had heard of him from there," added Rick Woodard, Plano East head coach. "Now, after having coached against him all these years, he's an amazing man, has nothing but class and hasn't lost a step.
"It's going to be sad to see him go, but with all those accomplishments, he can walk away from all this with his head held high and enjoy life."