OLLU’s Mike Aguilar has special connection with student-athletes
Antonio Aguilar Jr., better known as Mike, has been a Maintenance Technician at OLLU since 2014 and can be spotted throughout campus and even in the stands at the university’s athletic matches.
Aguilar grew up less than a mile from OLLU’s campus and regards Saints athletes as his own extended family.
He stated, “A lot of the students who I meet on campus come from different places like the Valley, El Paso and even out of the country. So, I try to treat them as if they were my own kids so they’re able to feel comfortable at their second home.”
Throughout his years working at OLLU, Aguilar has been able to attend countless athletic events and see the OLLU Athletic Department progress into the nationally recognized program it is today.
“We’ve just gotten so much better over the past few years, especially with our softball team going to the World Series this past spring. Our volleyball team is dominating the conference, and the men’s basketball team is always so talented and exciting to watch.”
Being one of the biggest supporters of Saints athletics, Aguilar recalls a tradition he created to celebrate the sport’s team’s accomplishments. “I enjoy purchasing cakes from Nadler’s Bakery to celebrate the various teams. A while back, I celebrated with the volleyball team after the women won their conference title one year and from then on, it’s become a tradition for me to buy a cake from Nadler’s to celebrate.”
Aguilar expresses his love for sports as being rooted in his love for basketball. “Growing up, we played basketball to stay out of trouble. It was so easy to fall into the wrong things as a kid, but basketball gave me a reason to stay away from that.”
Throughout the years, Aguilar has formulated lasting relationships with so many student-athletes. Some include basketball’s Joe Jackson – a two-time NAIA All-American who played from 2015-2017; Darion Brown (2014-2017) – a three-time All-Conference winner; and Whitney Sandmann (2014-2017). He also mentioned golf’s Annabelle Reyna, who is entering her third year on the team, and softball’s Cassandra Valdez, who likens Aguilar to her grandfather.
Senior Captain of the cheer team, Skylar Lloyd, shared some of her appreciation for Aguilar, “His kind smile and conversation to every member and coach who has the pleasure to see him on campus have not gone unnoticed. He makes the most genuine effort with our girls and boys of just about anyone I’ve ever met, knowing our competition dates, supporting us at games, and stopping each of us for updates and celebrations.”
When asked about Aguilar’s impact on OLLU, Lloyd said, “Throughout my time at OLLU, it’s hard to think of anyone who has made a bigger impact than Mr. Mike. He is the epitome of what every college student needs in a role model. He is always in your corner, to share in the highs and the lows, he is always there to help, whether it be with maintenance or life advice, and he is the biggest supporter of our students.”
Aguilar is also one of the Saints’ biggest followers on social media, especially on Facebook. He rarely misses wishing athletes a happy birthday or congratulating them on their accomplishments.
When asked about his favorite part of his job, he says, “Without a doubt, my favorite thing about working at OLLU is getting to know the students. I enjoy seeing what they accomplish in school or in their sport; it makes me so proud.”
Aguilar has two sons and has been married for more than 20 years. He began working at OLLU in 2007 but left soon after that for a job at a hotel. He returned in 2014, and next year, he will celebrate his 10-year anniversary.