By Joe Southern
At age 26, Michael Mesa was one of the youngest head high school baseball coaches in Texas.
When he died suddenly last April from a heart attack after playing a game of paintball, it drew the Stafford Municipal School District together as a tighter-knit family than it had been before.
Now, nearly a year later, a nonprofit organization has been created to help carry on his baseball legacy in Stafford. Mission4Mike made its debut March 21 at the baseball field where Mesa made his mark, first as a player and later as a coach. His son, Leandro Mesa, was brought out to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Backed by his mother, Laura Nguyen, Leandro’s throw wobbled to catcher Santiago Marcha, who returned the souvenir to the 3-year-old.
A table was set up to begin fundraising efforts for Mission4Mike. The nonprofit organization has a Facebook page where people can learn more. According to that page, the purpose of the organization is:
“We are interested in helping student athletes who demonstrate a passion for sports and reaching goals. This organization is dedicated to improving the baseball program in the Stafford Municipal School District and developing young leaders through a variety of athletic events and initiatives. Improvements include material upgrades to the field and continue growing to include character-building programs. We believe by instilling character in individuals at this age, we can build a resilient and promising future. The student athletes who we reach will find an outlet to bounce back from setbacks and a motivation to never stop reaching for goals. Every day we are inspired by a vision never settles in life or in sports – to never become complacent or outworked.”
Michael Mesa was a 2008 Stafford High graduate and taught Spanish at Stafford middle and high schools. In 2014, Mesa became one of the youngest head baseball coaches in Texas when he was promoted at age 25 – after just one season as an assistant coach. He also coached the Stafford Middle School football team. Mesa was born Oct. 4, 1989, and grew up in Stafford where he was a proud Spartan student-athlete.