Cipriano’s contract not renewed in Santa Rosa

Coach Juan Cipriano

Stephanie Garcia said she and many other residents from the Santa Rosa community are upset the Santa Rosa ISD Board of Trustees voted not to renew the contract of Warriors athletic director and boys basketball coach Johnny Cipriano at Wednesday night’s school board meeting.

The trustees met via teleconference, and no immediate reason was given for non-renewal of the coach’s contract.

According to sources, the vote was 4-3 with trustees Santos Castaneda, Sandra Rickford, Raul Garza and Rogelio Guerra Jr. opting for non-renewal of Cipriano’s contract. Trustees Cynthia Saldivar, Danny Theys and Juan Manuel Perez voted for renewal.

On Wednesday night, residents lined the main thoroughfare going through Santa Rosa on Highway 107, and some had signs showing support for Cipriano.

“There are many people in our community who are very upset about this (vote),” said Garcia, who has three sons who graduated from Santa Rosa, two of whom played for Cipriano. “It’s devastating news. Coach CP has brought a lot of pride to Santa Rosa because of the success his basketball teams have had. When the Warriors play, we’re all there. We’re a small school, but most of the time we outnumber the opposing team’s fans because our basketball team means a lot to us. Coach CP is the reason for our success. It’s just very sad news.”

Cipriano coached the Warriors in basketball 22 years and captured 16 district titles or co-championships. This season, the Warriors were District 32-3A co-champions with Brownsville Jubilee.

He coached the Warriors to nine Sweet 16 appearances, and his teams made it to the UIL state tournament three times — 2009, 2017 and 2018. That’s a feat not achieved by any other Rio Grande Valley basketball coach.

Cipriano, a native of Santa Rosa who played basketball for the Warriors before his high-school graduation, added the athletic director title in 2017.

On Thursday, Cipriano had a message for the residents of Santa Rosa.

“Stay strong,” he texted. “Much love.”

An attempt to contact Santa Rosa ISD superintendent Angela Gonzalez for comment Thursday by phone was unsuccessful.