TAMPA — Jefferson High baseball coach Emeterio “Pop” Cuesta said he wasn’t expecting the news of his retirement to spread quite so fast. However, the 43-year coach of the Dragons can be forgiven for not knowing how quickly news can spread via social media.
“I let my parents know,” Cuesta said. “I guess it got out from there.”
The news spread via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that the 69 year-old Cuesta had announced to his players and their parents his decision to retire.
The Dragons went 20-9 this season, winning the Class 6A-District 9 title before falling in the region tournament last week again Seminole Osceola.
Cuesta, who was born in Ybor City and played baseball at the University of Tampa, won 645 games with the Dragons and coached former major-leaguers Luis Gonzalez, Tino Martinez and Fred McGriff.
He said he has had some health issues recently that although manageable, he felt the time that goes into coaching — from team issues to field maintenance to helping his students academically — started to wear him down.
“As a head coach there is so much today and you have to wear so many hats,” Ceusta said.
“I’m going to get on that other side of the fence,” Cuesta joked, “and never lose another ballgame.”