EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – In many ways, it’s been a dream, realized after decades of friendship.
The boys and girls basketball programs at Andress and Chapin are once again among the top teams in El Paso this winter. It’s in large part thanks to a trio of friends that have been putting their stamp on high school sports in the northeast for years.
Andress girls coach Wadrian Wallace, Chapin girls coach Eric Weaver, and Chapin boys coach Rodney Lewis have been best friends for years, brought together by the game they love.
“It’s a brotherhood. It’s family,” said Lewis.
Now, they’re valued leaders in northeast El Paso. They might coach different teams now, but they’ve always done it together.
“I value their opinion above anyone in education or basketball, or most things in life when it comes to that,” said Weaver They’re great teammates in life for me.”
Lewis and Wallace first became friends 30 years ago, playing pickup basketball in the summer time after Lewis moved to the Sun City from Chicago.
Weaver, an Arlington, Texas, native, who came to El Paso to go to UTEP, joined the crew almost 20 years ago, when he began teaching and coaching in the northeast. He and Lewis were assistant coaches for Andress when the Eagles made a run to the Final 4 in 2015, just as Wallace was taking over the girls program at Andress.
“I know what it took for them to get where they’re at,” said Wallace. “We’re so happy for each other that we want it known, I’m happy for them all the time.”
All of their teams rank among the best in El Paso in 2020-21. It’s the shared goal of a trio of friends that makes them so successful, characterized by their own acronym: A.C.C.
“It stands for accountability, character and commitment, and that goes for us three. We hold each other accountable,” said Lewis. “I’m the big brother but watching my little brothers succeed gives me more pleasure than succeeding myself.”
A.C.C. has various meanings to all three men, but it comes down to two main tenants that they preach to their players: family and teamwork.
“It’s about genuinely being happy for each other’s success and knowing that when they’re winning, all of us are winning, and that’s all that matters,” said Weaver.
They lean on each other, both on and off the court, and have been there during the best and worst times.
“Without them pushing me, I would be a different person,” said Wallace. “I’ve learned a lot over the years just being around them.”
All three programs have district title hopes this winter, and no matter what they’ll be cheering for each other’s teams the whole way. Most importantly, though, it’s always been about putting the kids first.
“At the end of the day we’re here for kids, and that’s why we’ve been successful and will always be successful. That’s just A.C.C,” said Lewis.