Cathedral boys basketball coach Tony Harper credits wife for his success

Tony Harper's secret to success

EL PASO, Texas - Cathedral boys basketball coach Tony Harper won his 999th career game Tuesday night. 

But he doesn't take credit for any of those wins. 

"Well, I obviously wouldn't have been able to do any of this if it hadn't been for my best friend, the most important person in my life, and that's my wife," said Harper. 

Harper began his coaching career at Burges back in 1968 - almost 49 years ago.  It just so happens, he and his wife, Andree, will soon celebrate their 49th anniversary. 

"She's been the one to make all the adjustments.  She films the games," said Harper.  "She rigs her schedule up so she can be at the right place at the right time."
Andree says life as a coach's wife certainly is not boring. And she's there to support her husband's passion, or perhaps obsession, on a daily basis.
"To him it's life.  He has a passion for his profession.  And it takes passion," she said. 
Harper will go for win number 1,000 on Friday at home vs. iTEC Academy.  Andree will most certainly be there, camera in hand, as she's been nearly the last half-century.  
"If you don't have somebody like that, you know, I don't know if I'd have been able to make it," said Harper, who spent time as head coach of Burges, Montwood, El Paso High, and now Cathedral.
Though the players, schools, and styles of play have changed over the years, Harper has always been able to rely on his unofficial assistant coach.
"You know, there's always someone you can talk to," he said.  "Always someone who can feel the pain when you have it and enjoy the ecstasy when you get it."
Tony and Andree hope Friday will be another happy memory in life filled with plenty of wins, but also a few losses. 
"One of his favorite quotes is, 'The man at the top of the mountain did not fall there.' He struggled to get there.  He climbed very hard," said Andree. 
Harper is now one step from the top of the mountain. 

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