What's Up South Texas!: Coach provides free training to kids in underserved communities

SAN ANTONIO – Sterling Herron has been involved in sports since he was a young boy growing up on the Northeast side of town, but as he got older, he found ways to make training for school sports affordable for all children.

“I started GAS, or Greater Athletes Succeed, about 10 years ago,” said Herron. “It is basically a training program working with kids where we do college-based workouts so they will be ready for college when they get to that level.”

At first, Herron was doing the program on the Northeast Side of town, but then it moved around to several IDEA schools. It was his personal experience that developed his organization.

“My best friend, Rudy Cavazos, and I lived in the same neighborhood, but my parents could afford for me to play sports. So I would leave for practice saying, 'I’ll see you later,' and I would think he didn’t want to go to practice, but he wasn’t able to go because his parents couldn’t afford it,” said Herron.

Herron said as he got older, he realized he needed to do something for kids in similar situations.

“A lot of these organizations charge $250 for kids to play, and I thought, 'How in the world?' Some kids can’t even afford $50 if they were going to play,” said Herron.

He and Cavazos now work together with around 500 children in the program, pushing them to be their best.

“We always tell them as long as your heart is beating, your feet are moving,” said Herron. “So they don’t get to stay still for long. Life is easier and school is easier because we push them to the limit all the time.”

The mentoring does not end on the field.

“I get to talk to their teachers. I know their habits. Sometimes we come in for lunch. We know just about everything that is going on with them, just to keep their head straight and making sure everything is good with their schoolwork.”

The GAS program trains children, including those living in underserved communities, in football, basketball and track for free.

“We made it free and kids signed up and we are thriving,” said Herron. “We are able to do this because many parents and the community are donating money, items and everything we need to keep going.”

Now, Herron can say that he has played a role in training several successful athletes who are now in college.

“Sticking with it is easy, because you see those benefits when they get those scholarships and go to college and, you know, win national championship rings,” said Herron.

More importantly, he wants all student-athletes to know hard work pays off.

Herron’s compassion for these student-athletes scores big for What’s Up South Texas.

“Regardless if you have someone to work with you or not, as long as you get up and feel motivated and want to do the work, because it is hard, especially in sports, you are just going to have to do more work than everybody else,” said Herron.

If you know someone like Herron who is making a difference in the South Texas community or who has a unique story, send us your tips. Contact Japhanie Gray on Facebook or @JGrayKSAT on Twitter. You can also send your tips to KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Facebook.

About the Author:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.