Mater Academy Charter High School coach Eric Rodriguez is Miami Dade Basketball LLC’s 2021 Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
Rodriguez, 33, assumed leadership of the team after his father, Lions coach Marcos Antonio “Shakey” Rodriguez, died from a brain aneurysm on Nov. 4, 2020, at age 67.
The younger Rodriguez coached Mater Academy to its first-ever state championship game in Lakeland on March 6.
They tried to win states as a tribute to their late coach but fell short in the Class 6A final against Bartow High School, 72-45.
The Lions finished the season 21-3, which included winning district and regional championships.
“I am honored to be named coach of the year,” Rodriguez said. “My dad would say, ‘A basket is usually the end result of a great plan made by somebody else.’ In this case, I am the one getting the layup.”
Rodriguez thanked his players for an unforgettable and emotional season.
“I’ve been blessed with a great group of kids, amazing staff and many days it felt like my dad was still coaching the team,” he said. “The memories of this season I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Photo courtesy of the school.