‘Just hit me hard, it’s very sad’: Pleasanton golf coach, friends devastated by death of former teammate Travis Garcia

Garcia was among the nine people killed in fiery crash in West Texas

A Pleasanton High School graduate is being remembered for exceling on the golf course and being an amazing person off it.

PLEASANTON, Texas – Pleasanton High School graduate Travis Garcia, 19, was among the nine people killed late Tuesday night in a fiery crash in West Texas.

Garcia graduated from Pleasanton High School in 2021 and was a freshman golfer at the University of the Southwest in New Mexico.

His death has sent shockwaves throughout the Pleasanton community. Garcia’s former coach, Michael Guerra, said the young man was more than an exceptional golfer, he was member of the family.

“Losing part of my family has just hit me very hard. It’s very sad,” said Guerra.

Guerra, like so many others in Pleasanton, was devastated and shocked after hearing about Garcia’s death. He was notified of the crash on Wednesday morning.

“As a coach, and as a father, you hate to see any young life lost at such a young age,” said Guerra.

(Image of Travis Garcia courtesy of Pleasanton Express/Sam Fowler.)

Last year, Garcia led the Eagles’ boys golf team to new heights. Pleasanton won a region championship and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history.

Garcia was named the high school’s most valuable player in boys golf. He was a leader and mentor to many of his former teammates and friends.

“He was a good friend to all of his teammates,” said Guerra. “It’s just sad that these these guys no longer have him in their lives.”

The Pleasanton Country Club golf course was Garcia’s home away from home. He practiced there day and night but also grew relationships and friendships there that will never be forgotten.

“It just hit me -- if I tried to text him now or call, no one is going to pick up. That’s kind of when reality set in for me,” said Matt Garcia, best friend and former teammate.

Matt Garcia was Travis’s best friend and spent countless hours on the golf course with him. He spoke with Travis days before the crash.

“He was a really positive person, never was angry, never frustrated with anyone, so that’s kind of what I try to take on,” said Matt Garcia.

(Image of Travis Garcia.)

Another good friend, Lacey Stevens, said that while Travis Garcia had a serious demeanor on the course, he had a playful side to him.

“(Travis) always had fun and always shared this great positivity with everybody. If you’re down, he would come cheer you up,” said Stevens.

Travis’s friends and coach say he will be sorely missed -- a life and a future gone too soon.

“There is no doubt in my mind that he was going to go to the next level,” said Guerra. “It’s just a shame that he’s not going to continue to do that.”

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About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.