Inaugural Track Meet at Liberty Honors Former Coach

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Coach Bubba Joiner

The Bubba Joiner Invitational began at Liberty in 2010 – this story appeared in the Denton Record-Chronicle in March of 2010.

Bubba Joiner touched a lot of lives in his 37 years in coaching, and now some of his former co-workers are paying him back.

Joiner, who coached football and track at Liberty Christian for six years until retiring in 2006, passed away in 2008 after a battle with cancer. Joiner spent three decades in the Austin ISD and coached one season at Ryan as the secondary coach in 1998.

Today will mark the first Bubba Joiner Invitational at Liberty Christian, which will host eight boys teams and seven girls teams from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including local schools Denton, Sanger and Lake Dallas. Greenhill, Cistercian, Arlington Oakridge and Plano Prestonwood will also be on hand.

The Warriors have hosted the Warrior Relays for the past four years, and will again on April 16-17. This year, boys coach Trent Vest and girls coach Jamie Michalek decided to host a second meet on their 5-year-old track and involve some public schools since the Warrior Relays fall on the same weekend as UIL district meets.

“Because of the date of the Warrior Relays, it was never open to public schools,” Vest said. “I wanted an opportunity to compete against some public schools at our place.”

So that’s when the plan got put in progress.

Vest and Michalek, along with athletic director Greg Price, decided to honor Joiner by naming the meet after him.

“After Bubba had died, we did an honor for him at the Warrior Relays, but we decided to name a meet after him because he was such a man of character and he did so much for the kids,” Michalek said.

Diane Joiner, who was married to Bubba for 35 years, will work in the press box at the meet today. She said the honor for her late husband is a special one for her and her entire family.

“I don’t have any words for it,” she said. “We have several friends from church coming to the meet, and there’s just so much going on. I don’t really know what to say. After his passing they’ve [Liberty] still kept me a part of everything. It means a lot to me and my family.”

Vest designed the meet T-shirts, and let Diane Joiner have input on the design. When she saw the initial mock-up, she couldn’t have been more pleased.

“I saw the prototype of the T-shirt, and it was kind of like a dream,” she said. “Liberty Christian was always such a loving family. Coach Price and Coach Vest let me have my input as far as the T-shirt goes. I e-mailed him [Vest] this [Thursday] morning and told him his love for my husband showed through on the design and creation of it. It’s a great group of coaches. It just really touched my heart.”

Vest said he learned a lot from Joiner in the time the two worked together on the track and on the football field.

Vest spoke fondly of his relationship with Joiner, and of Joiner’s relationship with his wife, with whom he celebrated their wedding anniversary every month.

“He was an older coach, and had a lot of experience,” Vest said. “He genuinely cared for everyone that was around him.”

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