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Joey Rodriguez Junior High rendering
Posted in , on April 19, 2024

Joey Rodriguez Junior High

Arlington ISD’s newest school will honor the legacy of beloved soccer coach Joey Rodriguez.

The future Joey Rodriguez Junior High School is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2025. The new school is funded by the 2019 Bond and will replace the aging Carter Junior High, which opened in 1958.

By a unanimous vote of 7-0, the Arlington ISD Board of Trustees approved the naming Thursday night.

The school namesake was a soccer coach who excelled on the sidelines, taking Sam Houston High School to the playoffs in all 12 years he coached the Texans. His teams reached the state tournament for the first time in school history in 2015 and again in 2017.

But his impact went far beyond the field. The married father of twin girls and a son was also once named Teacher of the Year and District Coach of the Year. Everyone who knew him loved him, and his profound impact on young athletes and students continues to inspire and resonate across Arlington.

On October 17, 2021, Rodriguez died after a battle with COVID-19, leaving a trail of heartbreak statewide but a legacy larger than his life.

“Joey was a true leader at Sam Houston High School, a North Star,” said Sam Houston High School principal Juan Villarreal. “He mentored thousands of kids who looked up to him, many seeing him as a father figure. The loss we still feel is immeasurable.”

Arlington ISD athletics director Eric White knew and loved coach Rodriguez.

“His impact on students can’t be understated,” White said. “So many kids wanted to play soccer for coach Rodriguez that we had to hire another coach. Joey was humble; he would have never seen a school being named after him as a reality, but he deserves it.”

Celebrating the moment with the Board of Trustees were Rodriguez’s widow and children, family members and friends .

The Sam Houston Mariachi greeted people as they entered the building Thursday and performed along with the Tex-Anne’s drill team.Joey Rodriguez dedication

The crowd shed many tears, reminders of the tragic loss, followed by tears of joy knowing that Rodriguez’s legacy will live on for generations.

“Joey didn’t lead and serve for a salary; he did it to help young people and he did it excellently,” said his widow Lena Rodriguez. “This will allow him to continue to help hundreds of thousands because the students that attend his school will be zoned to attend Sam Houston High School, where he spent his last years coaching and changing lives. This couldn’t be better.”

Board president Melody Fowler said they were honored that coach Rodriguez chose to live out a part of his life’s mission with the Arlington ISD. “Because of what he gave us, we want to ensure his legacy lives on by naming our newest school Joey Rodriguez Junior High.”

See photos of Rodriguez and the board meeting.