It's All Relative: TAMIU Coach Garcia Combines Basketball and Physics

For Marc Garcia, the good things in life keep coming 'round. Things like basketball and physics.

Garcia (photo) was hired as the head women's basketball coach at Texas A&M International University this past Spring, and since then, he has been working to create a team of 15 girls for the Fall 2003 season. This summer however, he is teaching Engineering, Physics and Advanced Physics in the Texas Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (TexPrep). While these two activities seem to be at odds, Garcia explains he has long integrated these two activities.

"Basketball in high school was a passion, a love of mine. When I graduated from Trinity University with a BA in physics, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but figured it would pertain to physics. I was offered a job to teach physics and coach basketball at Nixon High School. I tried it and I enjoyed it. It was the best of both worlds, because the things I enjoy most are basketball and physics," explained Garcia.

The two passions coexist seamlessly, he said.

"Knowledge of physics inherently makes you think analytically. This is embedded in my approach to teaching the game. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, but that's the way I teach. Physics is about solving problems and coaching is too," said Garcia.

For students who are also athletes, Garcia thinks the activities and relationships formed in the pursuit of play are highly valuable.

"I'm a big fan of athletics in college. It's a vehicle by which the education experience is enriched, even augmented. The most important thing for a college student is to graduate. Like any extracurricular activity, it's not vital to graduate on paper but it is extremely valuable to one's education," said Garcia, "It can't but help that coaches are encouraging them to graduate. That's one more person who's letting them know that it's important and that they will do anything to help. And that's always nice. Of course, students have to do it themselves, ultimately."

Garcia's plans for the summer did not always include both of his passions.

"I was planning on taking the summer off. I said to my wife, I miss teaching physics; I love talking about it. I don't miss the paperwork, the lesson plans and all that, but if there was a way I could just teach it...and within a week I was talking to Dr. [Julio] Madrigal, director of the TexPrep program here. It's a really neat experience; I'm glad I got a chance to do it," said Garcia.

And the good things do seem to come around for Garcia. Back in high school, he was a TexPrep student and in 1993, after graduating from college, he taught TexPrep for the first time.

"That was my first clue that I enjoy teaching physics, which led me to teach AP physics for 9 years at the high school level," Garcia said.

In the Fall, Garcia's energy will be focused on building an exciting women's basketball team and supporting the brand-new program. For now, he is enjoying his time discussing wave-particle duality and the general theory of relativity with students who may some day graduate from the TAMIU campus.

For more information about the women's basketball team, please contact Marc Garcia at 326.2904, e-mail marc@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Dr. F.M. Canseco Hall, room 312B. For more information about the TexPrep program, please contact Dr. Julio Madrigal at 326.2700, e-mail jfmadrigal@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Student Center, room 126.

With State budget cuts, the University is observing a four-day, 10-hour a day schedule this summer with office hours from 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Offices are closed Fridays.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu