MIAMI— After 34 years of coaching the Belen Jesuit Wolverines football team Coach Richard Stuart is stepping down. The current, winningest coach in Miami-Dade County history, Stuart will step away from the gridiron and become the school’s Associate Athletic Director for the Middle School.
"Coach Stuart has been an inspiration to athletes on the football field and beyond for over 3-decades at Belen," said Jose E. Roca, principal. "His dedication as a coach during the wins and loses has been an example to our young men. We are blessed that although he won't be coaching football he will remain a vital member of our school community and continue to form young men."
With 224 wins as head varsity Coach and three back-to-back district championships (15-8A) Stuart’s legacy at Belen is secure. Among the highlights of his coaching career was the 2009 appearance in the state football final and the team’s recent regular season game in Dublin, Ireland against Atlanta’s Marist High. His dedication to high academic standards for his athletes have led 17 players to compete in the Ivy Leagues.
Taking over the reins from Stuart will be current Defensive Coordinator Eddie Delgado who graduated from Belen in 1991. “It’s been an honor to work side by side with Coach Stuart for 26 years,” said Delgado. “I was lucky to have been coached by him when I was a student athlete at Belen and then to have returned to my alma mater and work with him was great. I have big shoes to fill but I’m looking forward to it and grateful for the opportunity.”
“The program is in great hands with Coach Delgado,” said Stuart. “He has been by my side for 26 years and has demonstrated his abilities to coach both on and off the field. Having him as my defensive coordinator I never had to worry about that side of the ball. He is highly respected by both former and current players. I look forward to supporting him as he takes on this new venture and will always be there to cheer on the Wolverines.”
“As Associate Athletic Director for the Middle School, Coach Stuart’s responsibilities will focus his time and attention on the Middle School athletic program while Coach Carlos Barquín will focus on the High School,” said Jesuit Father Willie García-Tuñón, president. “Because of the extraordinary growth and success of our sports program under the leadership of Coach Barquín and our commitment to raising our own student-athletes from middle school to high school, the administration has found it best to invest Coach Stuart’s expertise on our young athletes. We are confident that Coach Stuart will dedicate to our athletes, their families, and coaches the same passion and attention that he gave to Belen Jesuit football.”
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline. In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.