Rita Garcia lettered four times in tennis for East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce, from 1978-81, competing in both singles and doubles. The Lions ranked among the top programs in the nation. During her collegiate career, Garcia posted an overall singles record of 134-25, qualifying for nationals all four years as a Lion. She placed first in the region as both a freshman (1978) and sophomore (1979) with runner-up finishes in both 1980 and 1981, posting an 18-2 regional record and a 13-4 mark in the national tournament for her career.
Garcia and fellow Lion Hall of Famer Patti Bean also comprised one of the top doubles teams in the nation as she concluded her East Texas State career with a 132-21 doubles record, which included four-straight regional championships. Garcia had a pair of top-10 national finishes in doubles, highlighted by a third place showing as a senior in 1981 as the Lions placed third as a team, one year after placing eighth at nationals as a junior. Garcia was named the Lone Star Conference Most Outstanding Tennis Player in 1981.
She went on to earn both her bachelor’s and master's degrees in physics from East Texas State University.