Eaton High coach brings positive message through TikToks

Coach Marco Regalado

By Caroline Wilburn, Prosper High School

Locker Room talk and tough tackles have always been a part of Marco Regalado’s daily routine, but how does acting, lip-syncing and dancing play in as an addition?

As the current Eaton High School running back coach, recruiting coordinator, and special-ed teacher, Regalado, @coachregalado, has used his TikTok platform, with almost 10,000 followers and over 195,000 likes, to spread positivity and make others laugh.

“I had zero clue that this was going to happen,” Regalado said. “It was overwhelming at first. It has been very humbling, but also reaping the benefits of it has been very exciting. I’ve got to meet people that I never would have met before.”

I used the TikTok platform to poke fun and do coaching parodies. It spread a little like wildfire, and I used that as a jumpstart to take my career up to the Dallas Metroplex area.”

— Coach Marco Regalado, Eaton High School

TikTok became a popular creator’s app during the summer of 2019, but it wasn’t until the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic shut down that Regalado said he downloaded the app out of boredom.

“My students actually had the app during powerlifting season,” Regalado said. “They were using it and doing little funny dances and always told me ‘Coach you should download it, you’re a pretty funny guy.’ Looking through the app, I said, ‘Well I think this is a pretty funny platform, I can do some funny things.’”

With a focus toward an audience that looks like him, Regalado said he made videos directed towards coaches, athletes and people who relate to sports.

“I used the TikTok platform to poke fun and do coaching parodies,” Regalado said. “It spread a little like wildfire, and I used that as a jumpstart to take my career up to the Dallas Metroplex area.”

Regalado said he had a rough introduction to the world of football and almost quit altogether before his freshman year.

“I actually didn’t like it because I was so confused,” Regalado said. “I wasn’t going to play sports in high school. My mom (was) the one who pushed me and said ‘Well you need at least one athletic credit to graduate. Just play one more year. You never know.’”

It wasn’t until his freshman year Regalado said that he understood the game of football and took a liking to the game, thanks to his coaches.

“That year, with those freshman coaches, that actually took the time to teach me the sport, slow it down, make sure I understood it, just made the game so much more fun for me,” Regalado said. “It was at that moment that I fell in love with the game of football.”

Regalado said the idea of coaching didn’t come until his senior year and that he was inspired by the positive change his coaches made in his fellow teammates.

“I was just watching my position coach and my head coach,” Regalado said. “Seeing what they did for some of my classmates that needed that role model. I wanted to do that.”

To Regalado, the main appeal of coaching is making a positive impact on his athletes.

While making a TikTok, coach Mandy Weaver pretends to peg athletic trainer Henry Michael with a tennis ball. The duo posts their videos on Weaver’s TikTok account, @scrandy22. “It makes people laugh and it’s a fun time,” Weaver said. “It’s fun to do.”

“You get to change lives,” Regalado said. “A lot of my role models that I had growing up were coaches and that’s something I wanted to pay forward. I wanted to do that. You get to be around a sport that you’re passionate about and love, you get to instill that passion and that discipline and camaraderie and you teach life lessons to student-athletes.”

With a current job as a recruiting coordinator, Regalado said he thinks of himself as a liaison who works closely with the NCAA to grant athletes the opportunity to play for a scholarship. Regalado has already helped 22 of his student athletes achieve a scholarship and has goals to help seven or eight more by the end of the school year.

“Anytime I can get one of my student athletes a scholarship, that is a huge accomplishment,” Regalado said. “Furthering your education is huge and for some. This is the only avenue that they can get that done, so I want to make sure I’m able to do that.”

Besides coaching, Regalado said he has a passion for working with students in special education. While living in Mathis, Texas, and working in the school computer lab, Regalado said he had the opportunity to work with these students, which piqued his interest.

“With such a small campus, if a special education teacher happened to be absent, they would call me,” Regalado said. “Spending time with those kids, getting to learn a little more about it really inspired me, and that summer I challenged the special education certification test.”

After successfully passing his teacher certification, Regalado stayed in a P.E. position, but he continued to search for his dream job where he could pursue all of his passions.

“That’s when Eaton happened,” Regalado said. “The job was a football coach with a special education teaching field, and I jumped right at it. This is my first year actually in special education, but I’m continually learning.”

Regalado uses his football background to create popular videos and said most of his TikToks poke fun and are based on coaches he has worked with.

“I currently work with a coach that’s exactly like my ‘coach-who-won’t-retire’ coach,” Regalado said. “It’s things I’ve picked up. I haven’t been coaching for very long, this is my fifth or sixth year doing it, but you just pick up certain tendencies that certain position coaches do.”

Despite his recent surge in fame, Regalado said he has kept the same message in his videos and out on the field.

“You don’t have to be talented to try hard. 100% effort requires zero talent,” Regalado said. “If you’re going to do something, commit to it and give all the effort you can. Just be yourself. Don’t feel you have to conform to certain things, certain stereotypes. Be who you are.”

Through his videos, Regalado said he wants to fight the stereotypes of coaches and show others you don’t have to just pick one talent where you give your time.

“There is always this big facade that coaches have to be this tough person, who’s not into the arts, that can’t break out of their shell,” Regalado said. “The big thing is, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Just because you’re an athlete in high school doesn’t mean you can’t be in the band or be in theatre.”

Regalado said hard work results in accomplishments, and although TikTok has given him a platform, his success is a result of how he treats others.

“Hustle until you no longer have to introduce yourself,” Regalado said. “I think I’ve gotten to a point, at least in the coaching profession, that if I’m in a room full of coaches, they know who I am. You can say that’s because I’ve made some viral TikToks, but a lot of people in this profession know what kind of coach I am, what kind of a mentor I am to kids, and word spreads.”

Whether it be on the internet or out on the field, Regalado said he wants to share a positive message and encourage people to be themselves.

“I think people like the fact that I am who I am, and I’m not going to change,” Regalado said. “People respect that. What I’m hoping is to break down more barriers and create more coaches like this. With younger generations seeing this, just ‘Be a renaissance man,’ I think is the best quote I can say. Just do it all.”

This story was originally published on Eagle Nation Online on October 28, 2020.