By Mark P. Molina Athletics Director Far Eastern University When I joined FEU close to 14 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see three legends in Philippine sports among the roster of coaches in Morayta. Cito Andaya was behind Project Gintong Alay and was responsible for the success behind world calibre athletes like Lydia De Vega. Lando Plagata was a long time mentor of the Philippine national football team and a pioneer in women’s football in the country. And then there was Kidd Santos. He was the first person to welcome me in the athletics office and he took me out to lunch in one of the carinderias outside the FEU gym. Having no background in volleyball, I have never heard of Kidd Santos. Little by little I got to know his impressive resume and what he did for FEU and for the sport of volleyball in the Philippines. He was a champion athlete and a champion coach. The volleyball tradition of FEU is ridiculous: 29 women’s and 25 men’s titles in the UAAP and the person with the biggest influence and involvement in all this greatness was Coach Kidd.
The succeeding months and years made me witness his passion and enthusiasm for the game. I have not seen anybody put this much love and pride in his job. People say find a job you love and you never have to work again. This guy lived his passion and love for more than forty years as coach, program head, athletic coordinator and was a mentor to many. To me coaches are best judged by the amount of knowledge you pass on to others. At its very core, the coaching profession is teaching. This is what Coach Kidd did on a daily basis. Teach students and other coaches about volleyball, God and life. Ramil De Jesus, George Pascua, Nes Pamillar, Shaq De Los Santos, Ronald Dulay, Rei Diaz, all top coaches in the country got their start with Coach Kidd. Their success is a testament of the knowledge Coach Kidd imparted to anyone who was willing to listen and learn.
George Pascua posted on his Facebook page calling Coach Kidd his father, coach, mentor, brother and friend and yes to most of his players he was all this and more. Amidst all the championships and trophies, Coach Kidd’s most cherished feats are the relationships he built and the people he touched with his genuine concern. I was technically his boss for 13 or so years but I surely learned more from him than him from me. He was an inspiration and an example on living everyday with passion, enthusiasm and compassion for others. FEU lost the last of the three legends I met 14 years ago but Coach Kidd will remain in our hearts forever.