Duncanville soccer coach reaches 300th win

Nuno Passos

It doesn’t take long to go down the list of boys’ soccer coaches in Duncanville High School’s history.

Guy Green led the program for two decades, followed by Phil Manning for a decade, and now Nuno Passos is in his 15th season at the helm.

“We’re the Pittsburgh Steelers of high school soccer, and I’m Mike Tomlin,” Passos said with a chuckle.

He was referencing, of course, the long coaching history of the Steelers – one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Since 1969, they’ve had three head coaches: Chuck Noll (1969-1991), Bill Cowher (1992-2006), and Mike Tomlin (2007-present).
And they’ve all enjoyed great success – as have Passos and his predecessors.


Passos won his 300th game as a head coach this season, another year in which he has the Panthers back in the postseason.

And he’s only 52 years old.

“When you can hit these type of milestones you have great players, you have great assistant coaches, your players are committed and your coaches are loyal,” Passos said. “You have support from teachers, administrators. It speaks to all of those things.”

Of course, knowing how to win consistently keeps one in the coaching business, which helps achieve such a milestone.

“The longevity, just staying in it a long time, and just how hard it is to do that. If you want easy, you don’t do it (coach),” he said. “I think the hardest part about it is once you get to the success, it is so much harder to maintain that success.”

But maintain it he has. As of this article, his Panthers teams had 92 victories over the past four seasons and the current one.


Passos was born in Portugal and migrated to Toronto, Canada, with his parents around the age of 10. The transition was challenging, as he had difficulty adjusting to a new language and a new country.

So, he turned to athletics. He was a multi-sport standout, and ironically, though soccer was his first love, he played baseball in college, bouncing from Santa Clara City College to Highland Community College to Ranger College and graduating from Tarleton State University.

“There was no money in soccer in the 90s,” he said.

But coaching his son in recreational and club soccer brought him back to the sport.

“I found my way back to soccer, which was the first sport that my dad had taught me,” he said.

Then, while working in Kansas, he met some friends from Texas.

“I found my way to Texas, got married, had two kids, and the rest is history,” Passos said.


Passos said his own past growing up has helped him relate to his players and has helped him be a better coach.

“I was a kid that grew up on the streets of Toronto, Canada in the 1970s, which was an unbelievable experience of a melting pot of cultures from all over the world,” he said.

“Being in that melting pot made me who I am today. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“Growing up in a place where everything is moving fast, the pace of big cities – Toronto’s the New York of Canada, it’s the heartbeat of Canada – just watching the way things move and how things operate, you get two chances. You either sit there or you move with it and I chose to move with it.”

Passos attended Central Tech High School in Toronto, which is the largest high school in the city – much like Duncanville is among the largest in Texas. When he began playing every sport imaginable, he said it opened new opportunities for him.

“Just being around my buddies, they were all athletes, the path we chose was the competitive world,” he said. “My world, had it not been for sports, I don’t know where I’d be. I was able to channel that frustration into sports.”

And now he’s helping his players at Duncanville do the same thing.

“Every day we come in here and we try to teach these kids everything you’re learning in soccer, the adversity, the trials and tribulations, the problems you’re going through, how do you deal with it? Do you think it through?” Passos said. “We’re fighting the battle of teaching these kids not only the rules about soccer, but more importantly, the rules, the consequences they need to be able to navigate the real game – and that’s the game of life.”


The only state championship in Panthers soccer history was in 1986 under Green. However, they are consistently in the hunt, and it has taken some of the best teams in the state to eliminate them.

Last season, the Panthers were eliminated in the third round by Garland Sachse 1-0, which went on to the state semifinals. Two years ago, regional finalist Irving MacArthur 2-0 ousted them in the fourth round. Three years ago it was a 1-0 third-round loss to state finalist Rockwall Heath.

“We fly under the radar here because of the success of our football and basketball programs,” Passos said. “It is such a fine line between winning and losing in soccer because soccer is almost the most unfair sport you can play.

“Playing it the right way, you’re going at people, you’re out-possessing, out-chancing, out-shooting, you’re doing everything but scoring.

“Something happens where they get one chance. You’ve had 10 chances and dominated the game. They get one penalty, they score, you lose 1-0. They shake your hand, say ‘Coach, you’ve got a great team, the best team we’ve played.”

And while that is nice to hear, Passos said it’s tough seeing opponents he knows they could have defeated go on in the playoffs.

“You see them go on to regionals, go on to state, lose in the state final, lose in the state semifinals. You sit there the last four or five years and think that could have been us,” he said.

“We think about it all the time. We talk to the kids about it all the time. We’ve been so close; we just haven’t gotten the bounce we need.

“We’re still waiting for that one player to make that special play for us to get us where we want to be.”

Duncanville is known as the “home of champions,” and Passos believes his program will join the success of others, such as girls’ basketball with a dozen titles (including this season), boys’ basketball with a handful, and football with three, including the past two seasons.

“We want to win a state championship—that’s the goal, the standard, and what we preach,” he said. It’s an honor if they put on the uniform and play here.
“Anywhere else, this would probably be the most successful program on campus.”


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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters