NEW MEXICO SPORTS HALL OF FAME CANDIDATES
OFFICIAL PARTNER FOR 2018 VOTING
Alan Branch was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His parents still live in Rio Rancho. He played football and basketball at Cibola High School from 2001 to 2004. He played Defensive tackle for Michigan University from 2004 to 2007. He played Defensive tackle for the Arizona Cardinals from 2007 to 2010. He played Defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks from 2010 to 2012. He played Defensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills in 2013. He plays Defensive tackle for the New England Patriots from 2014 to the present time (2016). He is a SUPERBOWL champion with the New England team.
William “Bill” Gracey has been involved in athletics in New Mexico for 41 years as a baseball coach and basketball official from high school to the collegiate level. Bill began his coaching career as an assistant coach of his alma mater, West Mesa High School in 1975. He left to coach as an assistant in football and baseball at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs for two years. He landed his first head baseball job at Cibola High School in 1979 where he would coach until 1997. His Cougars’ teams won the school’s only state baseball championship in 1983; state runner-up in 1992; and the Albuquerque Public Schools City Championship in 1996. In 1991, he was the head coach of the North team in the New Mexico North/South All-Star Baseball game. His next stop as a head coach for one year was leading La Cueva High to a district championship. His teams qualified for the state tournament 10 times. He moved up to the collegiate level in 1998 as an assistant coach for the University of New Mexico softball team. During his 5 years at UNM, the team had a record of 127-84-1. He returned in 2010 to present as an assistant coach for the La Cueva High School baseball team. The Bears won state titles in 2010, 2011, and 2014. Bill has coached Youth Club baseball from 1997-2016 winning 3 state championships and several regional tournament championships.
Bill has been officiating basketball, football and baseball since 1974 at high school and college level. From 1982 – 2014 he was a NCAA Division 1 Official in the following conferences: Big Twelve Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Southwest Conference, Sunbelt Conference, Big Eight Conference, Conference USA, Big Sky Conference, Southland Conference, Big West Conference, and Mountain West Conference. Bill has officiated 14 NCAA Division 1 Conference Championships and officiated the 1987 NCAA Division 2 men’s championship game. From 1985-2000, he was the Camp Director, Bobby Dibler Basketball Officials Camp. From 2013-2015, he was the Game Grader for the PAC 12 Conference, which reviewed and evaluated performance of games officials. 2015 to the present, Bill has been the Associate Supervisor for Officials for the West Coach Consortium, which includes PAC 12, Mountain West, Western Athletic, Big West, and West Coast Conferences. He help recruit, hires and evaluates NCAA Officials for these Conferences.
While at Cibola High School, Bill was the Athletic Director for 1993 -1996 and the Dean of the Freshman Class for 1994 -1996. Bill was inducted in the Cibola Faculty Hall of Fame in 1995 and the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014. The baseball team’s most valuable player receives the “Bill Gracey- MVP Baseball Player” award. In high school, how was the outstanding “Athlete of the Year” for West Mesa High School. He was All-State, All-District, and All- City in both baseball and football in 1971.
Bill has been a member of the National Association of Sports Officials, New Mexico High School Coaches Association and the New Mexico High School Baseball Coaches Association. Bill has given back to the community as a volunteer coach for the American Amateur Baseball Congress, United State Specialty Sports Association, and American Legion. He has conducted many baseball and softball clinics. He has been involved with Project Share in feeding the homeless and Kids First Program.
Billy Moya Sr. began his love of golf as a caddie at the Albuquerque Country Club. Since that time, he has had a stellar golfing career, including being the first New Mexico Open Champion in 1954. Moya won the Open as an amateur. Since then, there have been only two other amateurs who have won the Open. He also won many other tournaments in his career including Albuquerque Country Club Invitational, the Southwestern Golf Association Tournament, the Southwest Amateur Links Title, University Golfer’s Association Championship, and Albuquerque Men’s City Amateur Golf Championships. He became a golf professional in 1960. Billy started the first junior golf program in 1961 at Los Altos Golf Course with his golf professional brother Eddie who joined him shortly thereafter. The two brothers have taught over a thousand children how to play the game of golf and have dedicated countless hours to the youth of our community. Billy Moya, Sr. was the first to be awarded the City of Albuquerque Golf Pro Concession. He and Eddie continued to operate the concession together for 20 years. Billy Moya, Sr. continued as golf professional at Ladera Golf Course for several years after leaving Los Altos Golf Course. Eddie and his son Chris, a golf professional, continue to operate Los Altos Golf Course to this day. The crowning trait of Billy Moya, Sr. is his respect for the game of golf as well as his fellow men and women. Billy Moya Sr. has spent his whole life promoting the game of golf and you will still see him playing golf weekly at Los Altos Golf Course, providing golf tips to other golfers, and still enjoying the “gentlemen’s game.”
Brendan, a Sandia High School grad, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 27th round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft. In January 2001, he signed with the Anaheim Angels, where he made his major league debut in 2002 at the age of 30. Donnelly would go onto play an integral part of the Angels’ bullpen in their 2002 championship season, serving as the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the World Series. In 2003, in that same role, Donnelly put up an 1.58 earned run average and became a rare example of a non-closer who was selected as an All-Star. Donnelly went on to be the winning pitcher in that mid-summer classic. Brendan was also on the Boston Red Sox world championship team in 2007. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins and finally finishing with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011. His win–loss record in the majors was 32–10 with a Earned run average 3.22 and 360 Strikeouts. At Sandia High School, Brendan made the North-South All-Stars and was a first team all-state player. He played for New Mexico Junior College coached by current UNM Baseball Coach, Ray Birmingham.
The growth of basketball in the southwest region of New Mexico can be due to the dedication Coach Shock had during his 40 years of coaching at Cliff High School. Coach Shock retired in 1974. He coached track for 30 years and baseball for 17 years at Cliff. He missed one year when he enlisted in the Army in 1945-46. While many of the school’s sports records were destroyed in a fire in 1953, we know that for 30 years, his teams won 422 basketball games. Until 1954, all teams played in one division in basketball and all schools competed for a berth to the state tournament regardless of school size. Coach took his team six times the state tournament and had 5 district championship teams. He attended Western New Mexico and played basketball, football, baseball and track for four years, graduating in 1933. He was a player-coach in the 1932-1933 season. He was voted the state’s top college player in 1931 and 1932. He stayed at WNMU to coach as an assistant for one year before heading to Cliff. For several years, he coached the varsity and junior varsity teams. In these early years, there were only 7 or 8 players basketball. There were virtually no school facilities and to use his car to transport the players. Many of his players of gone on to play college basketball and some became coaches. Bill Stailey at Aztec, Jerry Lee at Weed, Chuck Dinwiddle at Reserve and finally his son, Pete, who took over the Cliff program in 1975. All four took their teams to the state tournament in 1976. He was inducted to the Western New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. He was inducted to the New Mexico Coaches Associations Hall of Honor in 1988 and NMAA Hall of Fame in 1977.
Gene was born in 1955 and raised a Belen “Eagle”. Upon graduation he attended UNM earning both B.S. and M.S. degrees. Upon graduation from UNM in 1977 he began a 28 career with APS. He taught at Barcelona, Kirtland, Del Norte, Madison, and La Cueva. He coached football and or basketball at Belen, St. Pius, Del Norte, Academy, and La Cueva. He went into administration with APS and was an Athletic Coordinator for the APS Athletic Department. Gene was part of a team of community leaders to reinstate middle school athletics in 27 APS middle schools in 1995. He served as an Assistant Principal at Cibola HS and retired in 2005 as the Executive Director of the APS Foundation, raising money for under-funded school programs and scholarships. In his spare time he served as the NM AAU Boys Basketball Chair for 20 years, coached our youth in AAU and AYBL basketball, and was the District 1AAAAA Athletic Chairperson for the NMAA. Upon retirement in 2005 he remained busy working as an Assistant Director at the NMAA and Executive Director of the Albuquerque Youth Basketball League. He also serves on the NM Sports Hall of Fame Board of Director’s. In 2013 he was awarded the distinguish “Award of Distinction” from the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame for his 37 years of contributions to New Mexico athletics. In 2016 Gene retired for good after 40 years of service to the schools and NMAA. He was inducted into the NMAA Hall of Fame in 2016. At this years New Mexico Bowl he was recognized as a “New Mexico True Hero” for his volunteer non profit work (AAU, AYBL, NMAA Foundation, NM Sports Hall of Fame, and N.M. ALS Association) by the NM Tourism Department and the Governor’s Office.
Coach Stinson was born in 1952 in Farmington, NM. He grew up and went to school in Aztec, NM. During his sophomore year, he was persuaded by the wrestling coach Jerry Parker to come out for the wrestling team. That decision would mold his lifelong calling. During the 1967 season, Coach Stinson set his goal of becoming a coach and vowed to return and take over the coveted Aztec Wrestling Program. Everything he would do from there on was to become the Aztec coach. In high school, he qualified 3 times to the New Mexico State Tournament, and was a state place winner twice. While at Dixie Junior College, he was recruited to coach at Dixie High School at the ripe age of 18, and was actively wrestling for the Las Vegas YMCA. In that program, he won a State Championship and represented Nevada at the AAU Nationals where he placed 5th in Greco. He went on to wrestle at Southern Utah University. While there he was a two time RMAC regional place winner. He considered this just a tool toward his goal of becoming a coach. He returned to San Juan County to coach at Bloomfield High School in 1975. In 1976 he joined up with legendary coach Jerry Parker in Aztec for 2 years, and took over the program. Twelve State Championships, three Runner-up, and three Third place teams later, he retired from New Mexico schools to drive north to Colorado. He taught and coached at Bayfield High School for the next twelve years, building a solid and competitive program there. He returned to his home in Aztec to become the Varsity Assistant Coach in 2012 where he is currently coaching.
He boasts 65 Individual State Champions which ranks him nationally 5th amongst all coaches. He has 208 individual place winners along with 18 District Championships, 19 High School All Americans, and 12 Academic All Americans that he has coached. He ended with a 535-92-5 life time record. His teams of the 90’s were ranked in the top 25 in the nation 9 times and as high as #3 in 1995 ending that season #7. Stinson is ranked No. 4 nationally with 139 wrestling tournament championships, from Hawaii to Florida where his teams would travel each Christmas break. His 1992-93 team held the national record for biggest average margin of dual meet victories with more than 63 points. He has been inducted into 4 Hall of Fames including his Alma Mater SUU. He has been selected National Coach of the Year 3 different times, in 1991, 1995 and in 2000. In New Mexico, he was AAA-A Coach of the year 6 times and State Coach of the year 3 times. He was Teacher of the Year 2 times, once in Aztec, NM and once in Bayfield, CO. In 2016 he was inducted into the NHSACA Hall of Fame in Louisville, Ky. In 2017 he was Awarded State Assistant Coach of the year and section 6 National Assistant Coach of the year by NWCA. He founded, and is the chairman of the Aztec Municipal Schools Hall of Fame. He is a Board Member of the NMWC Hall of Fame and is the founding Chairman of the board of Aztec Wrestling Program Building Committee.
He coached Football for 39 years and was the Defensive Coordinator for 10 head coaches. His defenses had 57 shutouts, and in the 33 years as a DC he helped put the football teams into 25 seasons of playoffs for a total of 50 extra games and 3 state finals. He coached baseball for 10 seasons. In all, he coached in 20 State final events, in 3 different sports, winning 12 State Titles.
His wife Terry is a retired second grade Teacher in Aztec. He has 3 grown adult children. Tonya, a BYU graduate who is the Executive Director of Farmington Visitors and Convention Bureau, Jeremy, who is a WNMU graduate and has a MBA, and is head of Oncology at Phelps County Regional in Rolla, Missouri. Travis, who was a Texas A&M graduate, is the manager of Global Marketing for FMC Technologies based out of Houston, Texas. All 3 of his kids were top student athletes in Aztec High School, winning state titles and All State awards. Coach Stinson says among some of his fondest memories of coaching are of his sons in football on the field at the same time, and being able to Coach 11 straight senior classes to State Championships, winning the 90’s.
He is presently the Head Assistant Coach in Aztec and the Chairman of the Board to raise the money to build Aztec a new 100×50 top of the line wrestling facility for the future of the Aztec Wrestling Nation.
Paul Gibson was track and football star at Carlsbad High School and University of Texas at El Paso, Paul was the state champion in 180-yard low hurdles in 1966 and 220-yard dash. Hew was part of the state champion 4×100 yard relay team in 1966. Paul won the Golden West 120 Yd. High Hurdles (Considered at that time as National High School Championship)- Hand Time: 13.60 (FAT Conversion: 13.84 – Carlsbad High School Track Record Holder (1966) – Converted to 110 HH)
Paul won the 1970 NCAA 120-yard high hurdles title. He was awarded All-American honors three times during his time at UTEP and won three WAC titles. Gibson still holds the indoor 55m hurdles (7.24) record set in 1970 and the outdoor 110m hurdles record (13.64) set during the 1971 season. Paul was part of the UTEP school record in the 4 x 100-yard Relay in 1970. Paul was ranked as one of top 5 Hurdlers in United State in 1970
He was drafted in the eighth round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and was a member of the Green Bay Packers that season. He played at the collegiate level at the University of Texas at El Paso. After appearing in one game for the Packers, he signed with the International Track Association in 1974. Paul was inducted into the UTEP Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and in 2016 Inducted into Carlsbad High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
He died from injuries suffered in an auto accident in 1975.
JAMES ``JIM`` THRASH
James “Jim” Thrash has been known an excellent teacher and recruiter for 40 years. Thrash started as an assistant coach at and eventually as head coach in 1974-1977 at Manzano High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Monarchs recorded a 141-32 record. In addition to winning state championships in both 1973 and 1974, Manzano also captured five district titles and made two appearances in the state semifinals. In Thrash’s final three seasons as the head coach, the Monarchs posted a 66-16 record while winning three district titles with two trips to the state tournament’s Final Four.
After earning 12 varsity letters in four sports and graduating from La Grove High School in Farina (IL) in 1964, Thrash attended Thornton Junior College (Harvey, IL) where he earned five letters in three sports. He would go onto Eastern New Mexico University and play basketball on a pair of teams that won 46 of their 57 games and advanced to the NAIA National Championship finals before graduating with honors in 1969.
From 1978 through 1983, Thrash was an assistant coach at Fresno State, where the Bulldogs compiled a record of 133-42, captured three Pacific Coast Athletic Association titles and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) championship in 1983. Fresno State posted three consecutive 20-win seasons from 1981 to 1983, including a 27-3 record in 1982 which included an appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s “Sweet 16.” As the chief recruiter for the Bulldogs, Thrash recruited four players, Rod Higgins, Ron Anderson, Bernard Thompson and Pete Verhoeven, who went on to highly successful careers in the NBA.
Thrash brings 16 years of coaching experience, all with winning teams, to the Boilermaker program. As the leader of the Southern Idaho men’s basketball program, Thrash led the Golden Eagles to an 18-12 record in 1997 where they allowed only 62.7 points per game, second-best in the nation, and a 28-4 mark and a Scenic West Conference championship during the 1998 season. Thrash’s two years at Southern Idaho served as a return to coaching following 13 years in fund-raising, consulting, and working several clinics and camps in addition to serving as a color analyst for television. Thrash eventually ended his coaching career as an assistant coach at Purdue University. In the two years that Thrash was on the Purdue sideline, the Boilers compiled a 45-23 record. During that time, the Boilermakers also made two runs deep into the NCAA tournament. In the 1998-1999 season, Purdue advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to Temple. The 1999-2000, the Boilers made it to the Elite Eight before succumbing to Wisconsin. Jim was a scout for the NBA Charlotte Bobcats from 2007-2015
Holly Holm was born in Albuquerque and graduate of Manzano High School. Holly is an American mixed martial artist, who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight division. She is also a former professional boxer and kickbox
Holm has held several welterweight boxing titles, been highly regarded as one of the best female welterweights in the world, and is considered among the best of all time, by some. She also has been named Ring Magazine female Fighter of the Year, twice in consecutive years in 2005 and 2006. She is a big draw in her home town of Albuquerque, having all but 3 of her fights there and just one of her fights outside of her home state of New Mexico.
In June 2008 she became the undisputed welterweight champion and holder of belts from 140 to 154 by defeating former champ Mary Jo Sanders by decision. They fought a rematch on October 17, 2008, at thePalace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit, which ended in a draw.
On December 2, 2011, Holm took on knockout artist Anne Sophie Mathis of France for the vacant IBF female and WBAN welterweight titles. Holm was badly beaten by the stronger Mathis without the referee interfering, even going into the canvas without a count. She finally lost by knockout in the 7th round, which would be dubbed the upset of the year in women’s boxing. The two rematched on June 15, 2012 for Mathis’s WBF female, IBF female, and WBAN welterweight titles. Holm took a unanimous decision win over Mathis, becoming the new champion and avenging her earlier KO loss.
JAMES MICHAEL PHIPPS
Mr. Phipps moved to Artesia in the 8th grade and has been a NM resident since then with the exception of his college years. He started on the 1964 big school state championship football team his senior year (played in the NMHSCA all star game as well). He returned to coach in Artesia in 1971 and was named head football coach in 1974. During his tenure as head football coach, Artesia won the state championship 7 out of 10 years. His 7 state championships ranks 3rd all-time in New Mexico. He served as president of NMHSCA in 1978. Mr. Phipps became an assistant principal in 1986, principal and athletic director in 1986 and superintendent in 1992. He retired in 2012. During this time he served on the NMAA board for 13 years. He served as president of that board as well as devoting endless hours making the NMAA the organization it is today.
Jim is a former driver in the Indy Racing League. Guthrie, owner of Car Crafters in Albuquerque, drove in the Indianapolis 500 three times. He debuted in the Indy Racing League in 1996 with moderately successful results. When the IRL moved to purpose-built chassis in 1997, Guthrie was forced to take out a second mortgage to purchase a new chassis. With no sponsorship and the prospects of losing his house if his venture was unsuccessful, he won the second race in the new chassis at Phoenix International Raceway. He got sponsorship from Jacuzzi for the Indianapolis 500 and was able to finish the season (placing 12th in season points) winning Rookie of the Year honors and kept his house. Jim contested four races in 1998, but then during the Indianapolis 500, he was seriously injured in a multi-car crash and has not contested an IRL race since.
Most recently Jim has been competing in Formula Drift with a Chevrolet powered Mazda RX7 sponsored by Car Crafters of Albuquerque. Jim is currently building a 2011 Ford Mustang specifically built for Formula Drift Competition. Jimassumed control in 2012of the local speedway track, Sandia Speedway and instrumental in getting the NAPA to be name sponsor of the speedway.
● UNM – Graduate School Only
● BS and MS Degrees from Mankato State University, Mankato, MN
● Married: Renee Waters (39 Years) Sons” Zachariah (36) Micah (34)
● Teacher: Special Education, Speech and Theater, Physical Education, and English
● Dean of Students and Athletic Director at La Cueva for 16 Years
● Coached in Minnesota: Tennis, Soccer, Swimming and Diving
● Coached in New Mexico: Tennis, Golf, Soccer, Volleyball
● US Army 1971-73) Player/ Coach European Team handball in the Army
● Original Staff for ASEP Coaches education in New Mexico teaching for both APS and the NMAA
● National Coach of the Year: NSCAA and NHSACA
● Winningest HS Coach in New Mexico: 421 – 119 – 13 7 State Titles – 24 State Tournament trips in 27 Years
● Coach of N.M. Chilis Semi-Pro soccer team: National Open Cut 2nd Place
● NMAA Hall of Fame Inductee 2015
● NMADA Hall of Honor Inductee – 2011
● NSCAA National Award of Commendation for Service 2011
● NSCAA Certificate of Merit for outstanding service to the Organization 2009
● NIAAA State Award of Merit – 2009
● New Mexico Hall of Fame – Award of Distinction – 2009
● NSCAA National High School Coach of the Year 2008-09
NHSACA National High School Soccer Coach of the Year 2004
● New Mexico Hall of Fame – Athletic Team of the Year 2002
● New Mexico Hall of Fame – Special Recognition Award 2002
● NMADA Distinguished Service Award
● NMHSCA Athletic Director of the Year
● Achieved all the NMHSCA Milestone awards for Soccer Coach and as an Ath. Dir.
● 2014 Co-Authored NIAAA LTC Course 626 – Effects of Alcohol, Chemicals and Nutrition on the body and performance. Gave initial presentation at the NIAAA national conference 2014
● 2004-Present NIAAA – National Teaching Faculty for 790 and 626 – National Convention
● 2006-Present New Mexico Athletic Directors Association (NMADA) Treasurer, V. Pres. and President -Past President – LTC and Certification Coordinator.Developed a statewide NMADA Scholarship Program
● 2005 – Present District Chairperson for State Athletic District 2 AAAAA and 2 AAAAAA (Contuning in this role)
● 2006-Present Serve as Member of the State Sports Specific Committee for Soccer and Swimming and various state Tournament ranking committees
● 2007-2010 Member of the NFHS Soccer Rules Committee
● 2007-08 Served on the New Mexico High School Coaches’ Association Board
● 1994-2008 Coach and Director of La Cueva Fitness and Youth Soccer Camps and Team Camps
● 1982-Present American Coaches Effective Program (ACEP/NFICEP) teaching faculty for APS & NMAA
● 1999-Present Helped designed and maintain websites for New Mexico soccer: http://www.nmsoccer.com and http://www.lacuevabears.com for La Cueva H.S.
1978-2006 Huddle Coach for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Highland and La Cueva
● 1998-00 Soccer Camp Director – Fellowship of Christian Athletes: Powell, Wy. & St. Peter, Mn.
1996-00 Coach and Technician at US Air Force Academy Soccer Camps
●Founding member and served on the board of directors (10 Years) of the Southwest Soccer complex in Bernalillo. (A 22 field nationally recognized complex). Involved in Design, development, and negotiations with the Pueblo.
●NSCAA committee Chair and Member of both the Coach of the Year and the Fall Boys Ranking Committee. Ranking Committee Member for over 30 Years. Also Member of the Scholar All-American committee and the Robby Robinson Award committee.
●Frequent presenter and guest lecturer at UNM in the Sports Administration Department in the areas of: Rick Management, Professional Development, Career Development, and duties and responsibilities of an athletic administrator
●Member of Society for the Study of the Legal Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity (SSALSPA) A presenter at the National SSALSPA convention in 2000 and SRLA Conference 2010.
●Aquatic Specialist and Supervisor for Albuquerque Parks and Recreation: Over saw pool inspections, training of WSI’s and Lifeguards, Learn to Swim Programs, and the city Ditches are Deadly Program for 8 years
Rod grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and attended St. Michael’s High School, where he excelled as a left-handed pitcher for the Horsemen in 1982. He graduated with a business degree from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas where he made All-District 7 as a pitcher. Wanting to continue his pitching career, Rod soon found himself pitching professionally in the AAA Mexican League by age 22 for the Rieleros de Aguascalientes team. In 1989, he caught a break and resurfaced in the Minor League’s Northwest League for the Boise Hawks. He has been pitching ever since… He is now in his fourth decade of pitching in Minor League Baseball, a career that has encompassed three countries… In 2012, Rod wrote the book, “Ageless Arm, My Passion Lives in the Core” published by Speaking Volumes. In the book, Rod recounts how his brother switched him from a right hander to a lefty, in hopes of one day making it as a pitcher. In between stints as an Independent Baseball League pitcher, Rod has pitched for over 95 amateur teams since 1980 and won an amazing 413 games, making him the winningest pitcher in New Mexico history. He joined the MSBL (Men’s Senior Baseball League) for those 25-& over and has won more games than anyone in the history of the league, posting a win-loss record of 320-62 over a span of twenty-two years (1993-2015) for a winning percentage of .840.
Over the course of thirty years, Rod has pitched over 650 games, pitched five no-hitters (including one perfect game), and thrown over 70,000 pitches. At the age of 49, Rod recorded an MSBL State Record 23-strikeout game in nine innings. He has won eight NM MSBL State Championships and 17 National Championships, including three in Puerto Rico.
For all his efforts, Rod was enshrined to the MSBL’s National Hall of Fame for 2014. In Santa Fe, he was recognized by the mayor and city council, for his achievement with a proclamation entitled, Rod Tafoya “The Ageless Arm-300th Victory Day” in honor of his winning 300 games on May 28, 2014. Today, in his 50’s, the ‘Ageless Arm” continues to pitch in both amateur and Indy Professional Baseball Leagues throughout the country.
A standout all-around athlete and a veteran of more than 45 years of coaching in Division I basketball, former Arizona State and ‘Ole Miss head coach Rob Evans is a true legend of the hardwood. He was named the College Insider.com National Coach of the Year (1997); SEC Coach of the Year (1997); New Mexico State Athletic Hall of Fame (1994);NMSU All-Time Basketball Team member; Elected President of the National Association of Asst. Basketball Coaches (1991); Lubbock Christian Athletic Hall of Fame;Las Cruces, NM Hall of Fame; and New Mexico State Most Outstanding Athlete in 1967.Evans was a standout athlete prior to his time on the sidelines. After starring forb Ralph Tasker at Hobbs High School, Evans was the first All-American at Lubbock Christian history in 1966, and was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the university in Oct. of 2004. He went on to star at New Mexico State, where he captained the Aggies to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. NMSU’s 1967 team lost to Elvin Hayes and Houston in the NCAA Tournament, while the 1968 squad lost to eventual national champion UCLA and Lew Alcindor. A multi-sport star, Evans was drafted out of high school by the Colt 45s, which eventually became the Houston Astros. Following college, he signed as a free agent with the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association and with the Oakland Raiders as a receiver. In all as a head coach, Evans led six of his 14 teams to postseason bids, and owns a 205-201 overall record in helping to rebuild the ASU and Ole Miss programs. At Ole Miss, Evans took over a program with just one winning season in the previous nine years and only one NCAA Tournament bid in its history. He also became the first black head coach in a major sport at the University of Mississippi. He led the Rebels to a pair of SEC Western Division titles and NCAA Tournament bids before guiding ASU to postseason tournament appearances in three of his last five years. Today, he remains in the coaching world alongside fellow Hobbs native, Tony Benford, as the Associate Head Coach at North Texas. In fact, Hoop Scoop Magazine named Evans the Nation’s No. 1 Mid-Major Assistant Coach in 2013.
Scott exemplifies an individual who has significantly impacted athletics in New Mexico at all levels for a long period of time as a business owner, athlete and coach. Scott attended Western New Mexico University in Silver City where he played quarterback, punter and defensive back for their successful football program. Two years later he transferred to the University of New Mexico, where he was the one of the top punters in the country for the obos. His booming long-hang time punting is still remembered by Lobo fans. The National Football League took notice too, but Scott decided that the home building business was in his future rather than a professional gridiron career. Scott formed in 1976 Raylee Homes with his wife, Laura and later was the co-founder of Vantage Builders in 2001 to 2011. Since 1976, Scott has been strong believer in giving back to the community. First, with his donations from the “Lobo House”, which he would build an home and donate the proceed to benefit student-athletes at UNM. He has built 16 homes raising more than a million dollars for UNM Athletics. The Lobo House project also inspired a recent offshoot: an Apple House to benefit Albuquerque Public Schools. Three Apple Houses have now been built and sold for the Albuquerque Public Schools Educational Foundation, raising nearly $180000. Scott and Raylee Homes were the title sponsor for the APS Sport Fund Golf Extravaganza for many years donating each $25000 each year, which benefited middle school athletics. In his busy schedule, Scott took time to coach youth football for winning championships in Young American Football League to being the Offensive Coordinator for many years at Cibola High School. He later was asked to coach volleyball at Bosque School. He would lead the Bobcats to a state running-up in 2011 and finally the school’s first state volleyball championship in 2012. In both years, he was named the Marty Saiz’s State Farm Agency Metro Coach of the Year. He also help be a sponsor of the Metro Volleyball banquet since 2009 to the present. Scott, the sports junky, became the co-founder of Team Broadcasting 101.7. FM. Rio Rancho in 2008 to present, which is now #1 sports radio station in New Mexico.
TICO & MARGE NAVARRO
Manuel “Tico” and Margaret “Marge” Navarro moved to Albuquerque in 1980 with his family from Connecticut to live a healthier life in a city where “you can ski in the morning and play tennis outside in the afternoon”. When he arrived, he opened a small specialty running shoe (Sunsports, Inc.) in order to promote running as a great sport and lifestyle. On Thanksgiving Day in 1981, he organized his first race called “Turkey Day Fun Run” in Albuquerque.
Because of the success of that event he decided to try to organize a marathon event in the city that would go on every year for many years. He put together a group go runners in the community to help him and with the help of then mayor Harry Kinney they planned the “First Annual Duke City Marathon”.
With the help of the city they encouraged the “Duke of Albuquerque” from Spain to come to the city to start the race.
This original event started with approximately 200 runners and has grown to over 5000 runners in 7 different events at the same time. In its 33 years, the “Duke City Marathon” has grown into one of the premier events in the state and the book end event for the city in October. As the state’s premiere running event, the Duke City Marathon is the largest and longest running marathon in the history of the state of New Mexico. A qualifier for the Boston Marathon, the Duke City Marathon attracts thousands of runners from all over the state and country. The Duke City Marathon also host a Marathon Relay, Half Marathon run/Walk, and 5k Run/Walk. The marathon is ranked as one of the top 25 marathons in the world
Tico and Marge’s dedication and countless hours have been the driving force behind the event for all these years, Manuel has been the Race Director for every event and Margaret has been Secretary of the board, board member and overall mom for all the volunteers through the years. They formed the DCM foundation to give proceeds from the race to local charities.
Ty Murray, King of Cowboys” spent the summers of his youth in New Mexico (Ruidoso, Santa Fe) due to his father’s job as a rodeo hand and a racetrack starter, and eventually lived in Pena Blanca. Ty was quoted as saying to the ABQ Journal, “Man, those days were always so special for me. It’s my second home. Heck, it really was home for me. We lived in Pena Blanca for a while.” Ty started the Ty Murray Invitational in 1996 at Tingley Coliseum; which moved to The Pit in 2009 and regularly plays to sellout crowds.
The Ty Murray Invitational celebrated its 20th anniversary in March 2016. It is the third oldest event on the PBR schedule (behind Billings, Montana and Las Vegas, Nevada)
• 7-time World All-Around Rodeo Champion (1989-1994, 1998); the only 7-time World Champion All-around in professional rodeo history in the roughstock events
• 2-time World Bull Riding Champion (1993 and 1998)
• 1988 Rodeo Overall and Bareback Rookie of the Year
• Most accomplished roughstock rodeo athlete in the sport’s 100 years – bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback riding.
• In 1991, Sports Illustrated proclaimed, “That’s the best danged rodeo cowboy of ‘em all.”
• At age 23 Murray became the youngest millionaire in rodeo history; ended his career with nearly $3 million in earnings
• Co-founder of the PBR in 1992
• 1999 PBR World Finals Event Champion
• 3-time Reserve PBR World Champion (1999-2001)
• President of the PBR (2004 – 2007)
• Currently a broadcaster for the PBR on CBS and CBS Sports Network
• Placed 4th in season 8 of ABC’s hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars”
• 2000 ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductee
• 2002 Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductee
• 2002 PBR Ring of Honor Inductee
• 2006 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductee
• 2011 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
Coach Lee has coached 41 years high school football Hot Springs (1970-82, 1991-2011) Lordsburg (1984-88), Silver City (1989-90), tied with Paul “Babe” Parenti for the most years as a head coach in New Mexico history. He is second in most games coached with 437 behind Clovis’ Eric Roanhaus. He ranks 5th all-time in career wins with 230. He ranks 6th all-time in career wins at one school with 191 wins in 34 seasons at TorC – Hot Springs High School He is a member of the National High School Coaches hall of fame (1 of only 4 New Mexico football coaches to be inducted….Bill Gentry, Jim Bradley, and Eric Roanhaus. In 1997 was inducted as a member of the New Mexico High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Honor. He was Past President of the NMHSCA (President when New Mexico hosted the National High School Coaches convention in Albuquerque 1982-1983) 2 times selected as New Mexico High School football coach of the year and thereby nominated for National HS football Coach of the Year. Lee’s coaching highlights include nine football play-off appearances, reaching the State Championship Game twice and the semi-finals five times. In 1973, he led Hot Springs to a State Track Co-championship. He has five Coach of the Year awards. Travis coached the big school All-Star Football game in 1974 and the small school All-Star Football game in 1994. Currently the Running Back’s coach at Eastern New Mexico University (2013 Lone Star Conference champions) Coach Travis Lee graduated from high school at Willcox, Arizona in 1959 where he lettered in football and basketball. Coach played Eastern Arizona Junior College where he also lettered in football, before transferring to Western New Mexico University. Received a national award for his work with the Fellowship of Christian athletes within New Mexico.
Walter Garcia was one of the first original 5-man “CLOWN” softball team started in the late 40’s/ early 50’s in Los Alamos, New Mexico; by Lou Pierotti. Walter was short-stop/ 2nd baseman. The Clowns were full of tricks and antics (similar to the famous Globetrotters) but with 5 men. Back in the day, the Clowns won most of their games against a full 9 man softball team. The Clowns went on to National Fame and were on the cover of Sports Illustrated, in the first Sports Illustrated Magazine in 1954. This team earned $200,000 for charity in the years they played. This team was great entertainment and super examples of athletic competition to everyone. They loved what they did and were awesome on the playing field.
He was an avid amateur golfer, starting as a caddy at the County Club in Old Town pf Albuquerque. He said, “If you want to become a good golfer, be a good caddy.” As the articles Walter won many statewide Tournaments against fellow amateurs and well-known golfers; Babe Zaharias and her husband being one of famous golfer he beat. Walter applied to the Professional Golfers Association of America in April, 1958; Walter went on to become one of the first Hispanic professional golfers in the PGA of New Mexico.
Sammy has done more for Gallup area student Athletes than any other person in that City. Sammy has been actively involved in many civic, school and state athletic and activities as it relates to students and student athletes.
He has been recognized and honored locally and state wide. Some of those awards he received are:
NM Broadcaster Association Broadcaster of the Year
NM Broadcaster Association Sports Play by Play Award (2)
New Mexico Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame Inductee 2005.
Navajo Nation Hall of Fame
Founder Tony Dorsett Touchdown Youth Football League
Founder Four Corners Annual Youth Football Championship
In addition, he has raised over $1,000,000 in scholarship money for student Athletes in Gallup and surrounding area. All funds raised go directly to student athletes.
Sammy has also been the voice of Gallup Athletics and the NMAA State Cross Country tournament for the past 30 years.
There are many other contributions he has made to help student athletes fulfill their dreams and meet their goals in life.
Sammy is the owner of the best Sports Pub Grille in New Mexico! Sammy C’s Rock n Roll Sports Pub contains more sports memorabilia than museums or Hall of Fames. He is actively involved and serves on the following Boards:
New Mexico Bowl
Blue Cross Blue Shield NM
He is the voice/ broadcaster of the Navajo Nation and Western New Mexico!
EMMANUAL MANNY SMITH
The dean of New Mexico handball, Manny won nine consecutive New Mexico state championships (1958-66) and 11 consecutive Albuquerque city titles (1957-67).
He was the first New Mexican to be nationally ranked in handball and coached countless others in the sport.
Manny was born in East Harlem, N.Y., to non-English speaking immigrant parents (Russia/Latvia), and spent much of his childhood in Brooklyn.
Manny attended Oswego State College in upper New York in the late 1940s, and was a two-year starter for the basketball team.
After graduating from Oswego State in three years, he joined the U.S. Army, where he worked as a medic while stationed in Germany during the Korean War. He later played for a U.S. Army touring team, and was named All-Army in the sport.
After the Korean War, Smith moved to Albuquerque and became a teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools in the early 1950s. At one time, NMHOF coaches Bill Gentry, Jim Hulsman and Manny all taught together at Zia Elementary.
Gentry still talks about Manny’s athleticism as a handball player and “an unbelievable teatherball player.”
Manny spent 35 years with APS and was a teacher, principal and master teacher (teaching techniques and overseeing younger teachers) during his career. APS honored him with a Distinguished Teacher Award.
Manny retired from APS after learning he had colon cancer in 1993.
Despite the cancer, he won a N.M. State Senior Racquetball title in 1993, qualifying for the national championships in New Orleans. He was unable to attend because of his illness.
Manny did continue to compete after two surgeries, and remained one of the state’s top senior racquetball players until dying of cancer in August 1995 at age 65.
He played his last tournament less than a month before he died.
A portrait of Manny hung over the entrance of the handball/racquetball courts at Tom Young’s Athletic Club.
The late Albuquerque businessman George Maloof, a handball partner with Manny at the old YMCA, said “Manny was the best athlete I have ever met.”
Manny officiated softball, basketball and volleyball, and umpired baseball at the high school, junior high and youth levels.
He coached Little League baseball and youth basketball and, in 1986, was honored as Boys and Girls Club Coach of the Year.
In the early 1960s, Manny created a baseball league, funding it out of his own teacher’s salary, for underprivileged youth on the Albuquerque’s Southeast side.
MATT HENRY QUOTE xxxxxx
Outside of sports, Manny was known as one of the state’s top theater actors, starring in many plays at ACLOA, the Albuquerque Little Theater and other theater companies.
He was also in a number of movies, including “Adios Amigo” with Richard Pryor, “Timerider” and “The City” with Anthony Quinn.
He was co-founder of the New Mexico chapter of the Screen Actors Guild and a board member of three theater companies.
Both Del Norte High School and Cleveland Middle School have presented scholarships in Manny’s name.
JESUS JESSE CASTANEDA
Jesse graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1965 with a Bachelor’s in physical education and health. After graduation he worked on campus as an instructor at the Peace Corps Training Site.
1960s-1970s In the late 1960s, Castañeda took up teaching and coaching at the Albuquerque Academy. Here he found his calling and has continued to teach and coach and motivate to this day. He taught Spanish at the Academy and in sports he coached handicapped kids, as well as coaching soccer, gymnastics, cross country, and track and field. Considered the father-founder of youth soccer in New Mexico, in 1972 he founded New Mexico’s first youth soccer program, Albuquerque’s Youth Soccer League. Starting with only six participants in the summer of 1972, the program grew to include more than 10,000 boys and girls throughout the state. In summers he returned to his hometown in Sonora to run a recreational camp for kids.
And as if Jesse weren’t busy enough, he also earned a master degree in Latin American affairs and Mexican history in 1970 from Jaime Balmes University in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
These too were the years when he set his sights on his personal athletic achievements. In 1972 he read about the British walker, Richard Crawshaw, who had recently set a world record of 255.8 miles for a nonstop walk. Castañeda, in his normal can-do fashion, knew then he wanted to break this mark.
In May 1972 he embarked on his dream of setting a record for nonstop walking, but on his first attempt he was forced to quit after only 78 miles, having developed 24 blisters and losing 16 pounds. He had to be taken to St. Joseph Hospital to recover.
On his third attempt on March 16, 1973, he set the world record for nonstop walking logging 302 miles in 102 hours and 59 minutes at the Albuquerque Academy track—a record that made it into the 1974 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records and stood for the next two years.
Castaneda recalled the mental challenges of breaking the record later in a Sports Illustrated article profiling his life:
Sometimes your mind gets tired, says, “It’s time to quit; why are you doing this?” Then I talk to myself in a loud voice. I say, “Hey! I’m going to make it somehow or another. I’m going to make it. I have the chispa.” That’s one of my favorite words; it means spark, like you use to build a fire. I’ve always had that little chispa in me. I’ve never quit. I’ve dropped but never quit.
Amber Campbell is an American hammer thrower. She lived in Tucumcari, NM from the age of 2 to age of 14. She competed at the 2005 World Championships and at the 2008 Olympic Games and 2012 Olympic Games, USA Trials champion but didn’t reach the final at the Olympics. She qualified again for the 2016 Olympics with a personal best throw of 242 feet 10 inches. She finished 6th at the 2016 Olympic Games. She competed in the 2005 World Championships and the 2010 Indoor Visa champion. In 2011 Pan American Games she won the bronze medal and in the 2013 and 2015 Pan American Games, won silver medals. In 2015 was the NACAC Champion in the hammer throw. Amber is a time USA World Championship Team Member. She owns the third best indoor weight throw in American history
While at Coastal Carolina University, Amber was the Big South Conference Women’s Track Athlete of the Year for her last three seasons. She won 16 individual conference titles and was a five time NCAA All-American in the hammer and weight throws. Amber was inducted into the Coastal Carolina Hall of Fame. Amber graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in Psychology. Works as a personal trainer when she is not training, serves as a volunteer assistant coach for throwers at Coastal Carolina University.
BERNARD “GIG” BRUMMELL
Gig was a 2 sport letterman at UNM in basketball and baseball (1957-1961). He was the team’s leading scorer in 1959. He would later become a graduate assistant basketball coach in 1962. In baseball, he was All-Skyline Conference pitcher 1961 and Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year 1961. He led Lobos in total wins and most strikeout in 1960 and 1961. He was the UNM Daily Lobo Newspaper Athlete of the Year in 1961. In high school, Gig a 3 sport letterman, was all conference in his junior and senior years, plus all-state in both basketball & baseball and honorable All-American in basketball. In 1963, he helped the Albuquerque Dukes, a Kansas City Athletics’ double minor league team, to the first half championship. He was later have a career ending injury to his pitching arm. He was inducted to the UNM Athletic Hall of Honor in 1999. Brummell has contributed a tremendous amount to the community, serving on numerous boards and in service and church organizations. He is on the Albuquerque Professional Baseball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He was Past President of the UNM Alumni Letterman Association. He served on the member selection committess for AthleticDirector (Krebs), and Head Basketball Coach (Alford), UNM President (Frank). He is also on the UNM President Advisory Committee for Presidents Gordon and Frank. He is also on the UNM Athletic Council from 2009 to present.
A 1971 graduate of Pecos High, she was on the cutting edge of efforts to pass Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, giving women equal rights to participate in sports and other activities as
early as her high school days. Her efforts including a sit-down strike at Pecos High to form a girls team or allow her to play he first time Roybal put on a uniform she did it as a professional player. The Pecos sit-down effort was unsuccessful, and as a result she put on a team uniform beyond the playground level for the first time as a member of the nationally famous All-American Redheads women’s basketball team, a touring professional team, Roybal, and other members of the Redheads were later inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as members of the team. She proved her coaching ability at the college level by becoming one of the few Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference coaches with over 150 wins. She was the only Highlands hoops team to go over .500 for twelve seasons in a row. She was the District VII Coach of the Year and the Rocky Mounntain Athletic Conference Coach of the year in 1992., while winning the NAIA District VII title, and competing in the NAIA nationals. She coached girls basketball at Santa Fe Indian School and won two consecutive state titles and a third state finals berth. She is believed to be the first and only Hispanic female athletic director over both men’s and women’s sports in U.S. History.
Clarence, a Albuquerque High grad, is a former Olympic style weightlifter, an attorney and fitness writer. He is considered the most articulate, well-read spokesman in America for an all-around fitness lifestyle. He is also known for his series of Ripped books, which chronicle how he brought his body fat down to 2.4% and became a past-40 bodybuilding champion. He has kept detailed journals and photos documenting his fitness spanning almost 60 years. He continues to train and publish monthly articles on his website. Bass started training with weights at about 13 and garnered his first athletic award in 1954, when as a junior he won the State High School Pentathlon Championship. He also wrestled in high school, placing second in the State Championship as a senior. He then concentrated on Olympic weightlifting where he won many more trophies over about a 20-year period, including city, state, regional and national awards. His first success was at the 1978 New Mexico bodybuilding championship, where he won Best Legs and Most Muscular. He then turned his attention to Past-40 competition. In 1978, he won the AAU Past 40 Mr. America, short class. In 1979, he won the AAU Past 40 Mr. USA, short class. In the USA contest, he also won the overall awards for Best Legs, Best Abdominals, and Most Muscular Man. In his final year of bodybuilding competition, he placed 2nd in the middleweight class of the 1980 Past 40 Mr. America.
Gene is an Albuquerque native with numerous accomplishments as a sports official. These accomplishments include his selection to officiate in National Basketball Association and American Basketball Association. He officiated in 10 bowl football games including the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl. Bluebonnett Bowl, and the Sun Bowl. He officiated 38 years in New Mexico from 1955 to 1993, which served a role model and mentor for many officials today. He officiated in 25 state high school basketball tournaments. His baseball career began in 1955 through, the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington for 10 consecutive years beginning in 1959. He umpired in the Western Athletic Conference from 1965 to 1985. Gene was an alternative umpire for the Albuquerque Dukes (AAA Pacific Coast League). He graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1954. He holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctorate from the University of New Mexico. Gene is active in church, community, and civic affairs
PHIL & JEANNE SATEGNA
Jeanne and Phil Sategna have been married 49 years with three children Phyllis, Mario, and Dominic. Jeanne and Phil both attended Bloomfield High School and Adams State College graduating in 1973. They began their teaching and coaching careers in Artesia from 1974-78. In 1979 they moved back to their northwest four corner roots teaching at Aztec and Bloomfield Schools. In 1980 they began their distinguished teaching and coaching careers at Bloomfield High School. Both have been inducted into the NMHSCA Hall of Honor for their exemplary coaching careers and numerous contributions and service to their Coaches Association. Phil is a 2014 inductee into the NMAA Hall of Fame and in 2008 NHSACA National Hall of Fame.
Jeanne in high school participated in GAA prior to Title IX in volleyball, basketball, track, and was a cheerleader. She was a leader and great advocate in our state to implement Title IX. She
was an outstanding volleyball coach, track and field, cheer sponsor, volleyball official, and the first female to serve on the NMHSCA Board of Directors’ and serve as President. She coached volleyball for 22 years with a record of 257-124, 6 district titles, 3 state trophies (2nd-3rd), north all star coach, and was instrumental in helping move the volleyball all star matches from Roswell to Albuquerque. She single handedly chaired the all star volleyball matches for 8 years, her most significant contribution. In track and field, she coached 8 district titles, 5 state place trophies, 11 individual state champions, 8 district coach of the year awards from 2001-11. She was honored to be the Albuquerque Journal volleyball coach of the year in 1995 and 96. Jeanne has now been a volleyball official for 19 years, 16 in NM and 3 in southern Colorado.
Phil has coached track and field for 43 years, 33 at Bloomfield HS, 32 years as cross country coach, and two stints for 12 years as athletic director of Bloomfield High School. His track and cross country teams have captured 15 state trophies, 24 district titles, 5 girls state cross country championships, 1 individual boy’s cross country state title, 58 individual state champions, and 8 district coach of the year honors. Other honor include state track coach of the year 3 times, 1 Section 6 Coach of the Year, 1 Region 8 Coach of the Year, and the Ralph Bowyer Coaching for Character Award. After retiring from teaching from Bloomfield Schools, he has coached 2 years at Aztec and is in his 3rd year at Farmington High.
Their daughter Phyllis is an instructional leader / Principal with Farmington Municipal Schools. Son Mario is the head track coach at the University of Texas. He was also an Olympic assistant track and field coach at the Rio Games, and this summer the head coach for Team USA at the London World Games. Dominic lives in Santa Fe and they have 8 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
Clifford E. “Gene” Wells was born in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, in 1925. He attended high school in Ada and MacAlester, Oklahoma, graduating from the latter in 1943. He was selected as one of McAlester’s first athletes to participate in the Oklahoma High All-Star Game.
Duane Fisher, longtime Hobbs High coach, was Wells’ football coach in high school. Wells served in the Air Force (1943-1946) during World War II. After the war, Gene attended Oklahoma A&M (now known as Oklahoma State University) on a football scholarship, graduating in 1949.
Over the years, Gene served as a teacher, principal, and coach, coming to Hobbs Municipal Schools 1953. In 1960, Gene became the first Athletic Director in the school system’s history. Under his leadership Watson Stadium was built, completed in 1965 which when completed provided the largest seating for a high school football stadium in New Mexico.
Gene served as Head Track Coach in Hobbs and built the program into one of the best in the state. His Eagles’ track teams won five state track championships and in the top 3 numerous times. , and the Gene Wells Relays have been held annually for many years.
Gene was inducted into the New Mexico High School Coaches Association (NMHSCA) Hall of Honor in 1984. He served as the President of NMHSCA. Other honors came Gene’s way included the 1968 Southwest High School Track Coach of the Year, 1974 New Mexico Athletic Director of the Year, and in 1975 National High School Track Coach of the Year nominee and the distinguished Service Award by the National High School Coaches Association.
Fred is a Highland High School grad, who is known for being the main reason the New Mexico Games are special to people in New Mexico. Basketball, the games’ signature event with about 225 teams every Memorial Day weekend, plus competition in 21 other sports, from swimming to bocce ball to pickleball. Here are other Fred’s many community involvement: 1991-1993 Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame – President 1991-Present New Mexico Games – Executive Director 1990-2006 Community Tennis Association – Member 1990 – 2013 Blue Ribbon Sports Committee- Director 1996 Volunteer @ Olympics – Atlanta 1989 Virginia Slims Albuquerque Tennis Tournament – Volunteer 1989-1991 New Mexico Games – Volunteer 1989 – 2013 National Junior Tennis League – Director 1985 – 1994 Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame – Member 1981-1982 Albuquerque Boys Club – Coach 1980-1986 Mile High Little League – Coach 1976-Present Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame – Member 1976-1979 Young American Football League – Coach 1976-1979 American Youth Soccer Organization – Coach 1975-1984 Sports Committee of the City of Albuquerque. Associated with the Chamber of Commerce & later with the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau – Chairman
During his extensive carrer he won 80 plus Professional Golf Tournaments around the Southwest United States. He won 5 New Mexico Open Golf Tournaments. In which 4 of them were in 4 consecutive years, 1968,1969, 1970, 1971, and 1984. In 1972 Lee Trevino after winning The British Open and The US Open beat Mr.Torres by 1 shot to stop his reign of The New Mexico Open. In 1971 Mr. Torres won The National Pro-Am Golf Tournament at the Famed Pinehurst #1 golf course in Pinehurst North Carolina by shooting a course record 62 in the final round. For his win he won a brand new 1972 Lincoln Continental. He won 4 Conrad Hilton Open Golf Tournaments. 6 Sun Country PGA Section Championships. 4 San Juan Open Golf Tournaments, 1 Colorado Open in 1972.
Herb was out front leading the way for golf in our area throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. His inspiration to his fellow PGA members has been laid out by demonstration and action. Building the New Mexico State University Golf Course and the NMSU Division I Men’s Golf Program from the ground up and leading them for more than 30 years as Head Golf Professional and Head Men’s Golf Coach. He is also the brother of NMSHOF member, Guy Wimberly. He was one of the more well-rounded PGA members of his time or any other. There were guys who built courses, or built programs or focused on education, etc. Not as many however made a serious impact in all of these areas. Serving as the Southwest Section President despite living in the rural New Mexico Chapter some six hours from the metropolitan hub of the Section, Phoenix, AZ. Herb was also one of the founding fathers of the newly created Sun Country PGA Section and was elected as its first President in 1974. He was also the first PGA member to serve as the President of two different PGA Sections. In 1988 brought the PGA Golf Management Program to NMSU, one of only three such programs at the time and served as its Co-Director and Assistant Professor from 1987-93. Herb was also one of the forefathers of the College Golf Coaches Association of America having served as its President from 1972-73 and he spent six years serving on the NCAA Golf Committee, two of which were as its Chairman from 1975-77. Herb has also been recognized by his former employer, New Mexico State University on several occasions, including receiving the 2011 Traders Award and an honorary Ph.D., both from the NMSU Business Department. Despite being retired from NMSU for more than 20 years, Herb continues to give golf lessons to individual students and consult for the NMSU PGA Golf Management program. Herb was a very accomplished player in his day, which included winning the 1960 & 1962 New Mexico Opens and the 1960 Hilton Open. In the Sun Country Section Herb claimed the 1974 Match Play Championship, the 1967 & 1971 Pro-Pro Championship and the 1987 Senior-Junior Championship. In college, at the University of New Mexico, the former UNM Lobo won the inaugural Tucker Intercollegiate in 1955 (which has since become one of the oldest and most prestigious collegiate events in the country hosted by the University of New Mexico) and was the Skyline Conference Champion in 1956. Herb is a member of the University of New Mexico Hall of Fame, the New Mexico State University Hall of Fame and the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame. Herb has achieved Half-Century club membership in the PGA having been elected to membership in 1963. As NMSU Head Coach, Herb’s teams won six Missouri Valley Conference titles and one Big West Conference title. Herb was also a six-time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year and the Big West Conference Coach of the Year once. Herb coached 18 All-Americans at NMSU and his teams won more than 20 tournaments, finishing second more than 20 additional times while competing in more than 200 events. Herb’s teams qualified for 13 NCAA Championships including 10 in a row at one point. Herb and his committee hosted the 1968 NCAA Championships at the NMSU Golf Course. The event was so well received; it changed the negative perception that came with hosting the NCAA Championship showing value to future host facilities. That event was also the first NCAA Championship to use computerized results. Herb is a recipient of the Rolex Golf Coaches Association Honors Award. Herb has a collegiate event (the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate), two scholarships and a street named after him. The Sun Country Amateur Golf Association named their Senior Four Ball Championship after Herb and his brother Guy in 2013, officially calling it The Wimberly Cup.
Isidro Garcia is a 1960 graduate of Estancia High School. During his senior year, he was captain of the basketball team, as well as the lead scorer and rebounder; he was also selected Player of the Year in Estancia (1960). A 6’2″ forward, Isidro led his high school team to the State Tournament two years in a row. In high school, Isidro averaged around 28 points per game and shot 97% from the free throw line. He also averaged 12 rebounds per game. He was selected to the Dell High School All-American Team; these were the top high school players in the United States. Isidro was selected All-State and was a member of the North All-Star basketball team in the North/South All-Star basketball game. Also, in 1960, isidro had over 35 scholarship offers; he chose to attend the College of St. Joseph’s on the Rio Grande because it was close to home.
During his freshman year, he averaged slightly over 20 points per game and shot 67% from the field. The next year, he averaged 24.5 points per game – this placed him among the top two or three scorers in the nation. He also shot 98% from the free throw line. in 1963, he was selected as a Small College All-American (NAIA) and was selected to be a part of a NAIA sqad that toured South America in state department sponsored clinics representing the United States. He played in Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. He averaged over 20 points per game, and being the only Spanish speaking member of the team often acted as an ambassador, handling press relations and communicating with game officials. Isidro was a highly accomplished musician and he left college to pursue an opportunity in the music field, where he has performed for over 50 years.
Jeff Taylor Sr. was born January 1, 1960 in Blytheville, Arkansas Taylor was a three year lettermen in Basketball at Hobbs High School. He was twice named New Mexico Player of the Year in 1977 and 1978. He started all three seasons at Hobbs and was the leading scorer and rebounder his junior and senior season. Jeff’s senior year was 1977‑78 and this was a team that would go on to set several school and state records. The team would win 26 games against 3 losses. Jeff would average 25.6 points per game, scoring 409 in only 16 games, but suffering a broken leg on January 17, 1978 against Carlsbad. Less than a week earlier on January 13, 1978, the Eagles set a state record for most points scored that still stands today by downing Roswell by a score of 176‑49. Other state records set were 81 field goals made in a game. The Eagles’ 84 rebounds would tie the state record and the 66 assists would set a school record. In that game, Jeff was the second leading scorer with 40, just behind Steve Smith’s 43. Despite their scoring ability, the team would lose in the playoffs to Albuquerque High 92‑84 without Taylor.
Jeff signed with Texas Tech where he was a four year starter for the Red Raiders under long time coach, Gerald Myers. He was twice named Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was named All-Conference his junior and senior season. In 115 games, he logged 3,538 minutes and scoring 1424 points.
Taylor was selected by the Houston Rockets in the second round, picked 42 overall. He played one season with the Rockets and another season with the Detroit Pistons in the 1986-87 NBA season. He played 56 games in those two seasons.
After his NBA career ended, he continued his career in Europe, eventually settling in Sweden, where he now lives. Taylor is a an inductee of the Texas Tech Hall of Fame and the Lea County Sports Hall of Fame.
John Gunther moved from Springfield Illinois at age 10, to Bernalillo NM. John attended Bernalillo High School, playing football, tennis, and running track. After garnering a coaching position on JV in 2006, he immediately knew this was his dream job, and continued to work hard to become the head coach at Sandia High School. John has led Sandia into the state finals in 2012 & 2013. What is remarkable is the impact John has had on his players and students despite his battle with cancer. Having been coaching for 21 years his life, having impact off the field and on, can be witnessed by his continuous contacts with former players, students and parents of both. His official record is 88-49 at the time of his retirement.
Johns epic coaching journey of being a teacher at Sandia High School teaching math began and when his oldest son Robert turned 5, started coaching him at Mile High Little League, instantly falling in love with working with children and affecting their lives through youth sports. As John grew into the role of coach, and having many great influences in his life in David Hendrick and others his goal of working with high school children became utmost in his life. He realized that kids are young people who like anyone else, need to have someone love them, listen to them, and respect them. John had the deep and abiding ability to love, especially those who felt less-loved. John attended every event there was, swimming, tennis, golf, attending chorus, All-State events, funerals, and hospitals, Pageant of the Bands, to show his students that he cared about them and loved them.
John believed in his heart that building relationships with students, colleagues, even competitors was healthy and fit right into his belief system. His consistent hard-nosed work ethic in the classroom and on the baseball diamond is evident in the results from his 17 years of results from teaching and coaching. His attention to detail in his job with teaching critical thinking skills, but more importantly getting to know his kids, sharing with his students and getting to know them just by listening to them and caring.
John is a member of the NM High School Coaches Association. As he has been battling cancer, the way he carries himself and his continuous contributions to High School athletics in New Mexico as a coach, teacher and as a mentor- of which he is unmatched.
John Gunther exhibits each and every thing, that identifies someone as a fantastic mentor, his unwavering ethical approach to baseball, his absolute attention to moral behavior, the way he carries himself as an example to his student/athletes and his never ending respect for the athletes, the game, his opponents and his love for education, on and off the field- make him one of the most special people to have walked onto a diamond.
John worked on the B2 Bomber project, and attending school at University of New Mexico, John earned his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, and subsequently earned his Master’s in education from UNM. John and his wife Shari have four children, Brittney, Robert, David, and Sarah.
Ms. Linda G. Alvarado, a native of Albuquerque and Sandia High School grad, has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Alvarado Construction, Inc., since 1978. She is a Co-Owner and Partner in the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club. She is also the first woman and the first Hispanic to buy a major sports team. At Sandia High School Alvarado lettered in basketball, volleyball, and softball and also played soccer and ran track.
In 1976, Ms. Alvarado founded Alvarado Construction, Inc. and has overseen the growth of that enterprise as a commercial general contracting and design/build development firm conducting business across the United States and internationally. She served as President of Palo Alto, Inc. She was employed at BASF Catalysts LLC and Newpower Holdings Inc. She has been a Director of Cyprus Amax Minerals Company since December 14, 1989, Pitney Bowes Inc., since 1992, 3M Canada Company since 2000, 3M Company since 2000. She has been a Trustee of Mayo Clinic since 2012. She serves as a Director of Engelhard Corporation and 3M Precision Optics Inc. She served as a Director of Qwest Communications International Inc. from 2000 to February 18, 2010, The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. since March 1999, 3M Cardiovascular Devices Inc., and U S WEST since 1998. She served as a Director of Lennox International Inc. from 1987 to February 28, 2010. She served as a Director of Qwest Foundation until February 18, 2010. She is Revlon Business Woman of the Year; one of 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America; Horatio Alger Award recipient; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee; White House Commission for Excellence in Hispanic Education; National Women’s Economic Alliance Director’s Choice Award recipient; Sara Lee Frontrunner Award recipient. She studied Bachelor’s degree from Pomona College.
Miles Watters retired in 2014 from the coaching and teaching after 36 years in the business. He coached over 1000 basketball games with a record of 759 – 263. He ranks number one in the number of state titles with 12 State Championships including eight straight from 1983-1990. His New Mexico girls record of 526 -105 is in the top three rankings for overall victories. Watters was also the National Federation High School Coaches Association’s Sectional Coach of the Year in 1986, 1992, and 2005.
Miles was raised in the ranching industry in Clayton, New Mexico. He was an All-State football and basketball player for the Yellow Jackets and played basketball for the well-respected coach Wayne Moore. Graduating in 1973 he considered playing football for UNM, but his passion for basketball lead him to Lubbock Christian University where he was a 4-year letterman. His Senior year he led the team in scoring, rebounding, field goal, and free throw % and received the school’s prestigious LD Hayes Award for the Outstanding the Athlete of the Year.
Watters began his coaching career in Sudan, Texas where he was the boys head basketball coach and assistant football coach. After two years, he returned home to Clayton to lead the girls’ basketball and track programs for 15 years. During that span, the girls’ basketball team won 11 State Championships and 7 State titles in Track. One year he was called to coach both the boys and girls teams, taking the boys to a third-place finish at State, while the ladies won the Championship. The Clayton girls’ basketball teams had a record of 373-57, with 13 district titles, 13 regional titles and 11 state titles in his 15-year tenure at Clayton. He was named New Mexico Coach of the Year 10 of his 15 years in Clayton.
Watters jumped to the college ranks for a six-year stint returning to his alma mater, Lubbock Christian University. He left there as the school’s first coach to have a winning record in Women’s Basketball. In 1996, he was inducted into LCU’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Watters returned to New Mexico where he led the Clovis girls’ basketball program for 7 years. During that span, the Lady Wildcats reached the State finals 3 years, winning it all in 2005 with a perfect 30-0 record.
Coach Watters retired from New Mexico in 2008, but returned to coaching the following year at Farwell, Texas. He coached the Farwell girls program for 5 years leading the team to the school’s first ever victory over bitter rival Sudan, Texas. His record at Farwell was 97-59, leading the Texas team deep into the playoffs 3 out of 5 years.
ROBERT RODRIGUEZ & FAMILY
The family of Robert “Bobby” Rodriguez is to northern New Mexico basketball (high school and college) as the Gwinn “Bub” Henry family is to UNM and track and field——highly respected and legendary. Bobby and Imelda were married 58 years and having 4 daughters and 5 sons. All family members were great student athletes, basketball players, cheerleaders, beauty queens, coaches, and leaders in the educational, law enforcement, and business communities in northern New Mexico.
The patriarch of the family, Bobby, a legendary and NMHSCA Hall of Honor Coach amassed 362 wins, 10 state tournament appearances, 3 final fours, 2 Coach of the Year awards, and 7 district titles at St. Michael’s, Espanola, Pojoaque, and Santa Fe High Schools. He was a three sport star at St. Michael’s High but he excelled in basketball (all state honors) and was recruited by UNM and UCLA. He aspired to be a U.S. Marine but a knee injury prevented his enlistment, so he played college basketball at St. Michael’s College earning All American honors. In 2014 after his death, Santa Fe Public Schools renamed the Capitol City Basketball Invitational to the Bobby Rodriguez Invitational to honor him and his family. Imelda, the matriarch, graduated from Santa Fe High, was a Fiesta de Santa Fe Princess, “Queen of the Court”, retired from the NM Tourism Department, and had 9 children.
Roberta is a 1977 graduate of St. Michael’s, cheerleader, 40 year banking professional, and Vice-President of Centinel Bank in Taos. Ronnie was an all state and all district player on the 1978 state championship basketball team at Santa Fe High. He played college at NM Junior College, College of Santa Fe, and was Player of the Year in 1980. He played 6 years in the Mexican Professional Basketball Association and is in the Latino Basketball Hall of Fame and National Hispanic Hall of Honor. David played on the same ’78 championship team, graduated in ’79 3rd Place, and played college at NMJC and ENMU graduating in 1984. David has been a teacher for 31 years, coach for 25, Teacher of the Year 1995, Teachers Who Inspire 2006, and won 158 games in two stints at his alma mater. He was named the head coach at St. Michael’s this year, where his legendary father began his career. Ernie played for his dad at Espanola Valley High School, was athlete of the year, and North All Star in basketball 1980. He played college at NMJC, NMHU, and NMMI. He’s been a teacher for 33 years, coach 34, approaching 400 wins (391), 1 Coach of the Year, 2 District Coach of the Year, 10 state appearances, 43 football wins with 1 undefeated season, and 6 years as a track coach. Billy also played for his dad at Pojoaque HS and was all district, all state, north all star, and AAA player of the year in 1982. He played college at NMMI and also spent 6 years in the Mexican Professional Basketball League and an all star for 3 years. Barbara is a 1983 graduate of Santa Fe High playing basketball and was a gold medalist in the 800 medley relay. She played college at ENMU earning her degree in criminology and is a federal probation officer. She has coached 20 years, 15 in Ohio and 5 in NM. Linda is also a 1984 graduate of SFHS, was a varsity gymnast, played basketball, 1986 Fiesta de Santa Fe Princess, and has been in the banking and mortgage profession for 30 years. Mark attended SFHS graduating in 1987, varsity basketball, all district, north all star, and played college at NMHU and Canada College. He is a double lung transplant recipient twice, and earning silver and bronze medals at the national transplant games. He was an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Capital High, but was named the head girls coach at Santa Fe Preparatory. Laura played varsity basketball at SFHS winning district and state in 1988. She played college at ENMU and earned her criminology degree from UNM. She was a NMHSCA All American Honorable Mention. She is a supervisory security specialist at a national nuclear facility. What an amazing family.
Nick, 7’2” St.. Michaels grad, held the state’s season scoring record for 50 years until in was broken in 2011 by Bryce Alford. He scored 1033 points for a season in 1962-1963 plus scored 80 points in one game vs. El Rito High School. He went on to play for Kansas St for Coach Tex Winter, the inventor of the Triangle offense. He was drafted twice by the Los Angeles Lakers – 1967 11 round 1968 6th round (73 pick). Pino was always the big man on campus. Nearly 7 feet tall as a 1 6-year- old high school junior, he didn’t start for the St. Michael’s basketball team until his senior year (1962-1963). Enticed by the opportunity to crack the starting lineup, Pino worked hard to reach the standard set by his old teammates. Pino went from benchwarmer to shooting star in a matter of months. more than 100 colleges recruited him. As a senior at Kansas State in 1968, Pino helped the Wildcats win the Big 8 Conference championship and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Only 16 teams were invited back then. Kansas State was leading TCU by double digits in the first round of the tournament when Pino injured a knee and was sidelined. With Pino out, TCU rallied to win by 5 points. That troublesome left knee ended Pino’s chance to make the Los Angeles Lakers roster. He went into the insurance business, first in Kansas, then in Santa Fe. He moved back home in 1985 so he could be close to his parents in their twilight years. he got an offer to play professionally in Mexico. He played there for one season, helping a team from San Luís Potosí win a Mexican national title In the most classiest acts ever, Nick prenented Byre the basketball that he was given in 1963 that broke the state’s scoring record “I want to congratulate the guy,” Pino said of La Cueva’s Bryce Alford, who broke Pino’s 50-year-old New Mexico high school single-season basketball scoring record.
Rod Nichols was born Dec. 29, 1964 in Burlington, Iowa. He played baseball at Highland High School, where he was an all-state shortstop in 1982. He was a three year Letterman at UNM. Rod was drafted in the 5th round by the Cleveland Indian in 1985. He made his major league debut on July 30, 1988. He pitched in 100 games over 7 seasons. He was the first UNM baseball player to play in the major leagues. His career took him to the Dodgers where he played at AAA for the Albuquerque Dukes. He may be the only player from New Mexico, who played a high school, college, and pro game at the old Sports Stadium. He finished his major league career in 1995 with the Atlanta Bravenmens. He also played one season in Japan for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in 1997.
Since retiring from baseball he has worked as a the Phillies Triple A minor league pitching coach for the Reading Phillies, the Scranton Red Barons, the Ottawa Lynx and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs before being named the bullpen coach for the Philadelphia Phillies before the 2013 season, where he coached until 2015.
Roy Cooper was born November 13, 1955 in Hobbs, NM. He was raised on a ranch. He was a pro rodeo cowboy that competed in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association since 1976. During his pro rodeo career he won the All-Around Cowboy Championship in 1983, and claimed seven individual discipline championships, including six tie-down roping titles. 1976, Cooper won the organization’s tie down roping championship and won the event at the National Finals Rodeo. He broke the record for the most prize money won by a rookie cowboy, and earned the PRCA’s Rookie of the Year award. He was nicknamed “Super Looper” for his roping abilities.
At the 1978 Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo, he led all cowboys in prize money won, and his calf-roping winnings were the largest recorded in any non-National Finals Rodeo event at the time.[
In 1983, Cooper won the All-Around Cowboy championship, steer wrestling
and calf roping season championship. This made him the first PRCA competitor since 1958 to win three disciplines season championships and the fourth cowboy in PRCA history. Cooper broke the record for yearly prize winnings with $153,390.84 in earnings, and claimed the National Finals Rodeo calf roping title at the end of the season. In calf roping, he set a season record in earnings with $122,455 for the year.
By September 1990 was the PRCA’s all-time leading money winner with career earnings of more than $1.1 million. At a 2000 rodeo in Lovington, New Mexico, he surpassed $2 million in earnings; Cooper was the first to reach this mark in rodeo. As of 2011, Cooper remained a part-time competitor in rodeo events. The Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inducted Cooper in 1979. Cooper was part of the Hall’s inaugural class of enshrines Cooper and other members of his family have founded the Cooper Rodeo Foundation, which aids children and young adults in rodeo.
Brooklyn-born lifelong New York Mets fan Ron Murphy is never far from a baseball diamond. The 2016 season was his 31st year coaching high school baseball. 2016 was his 26th year as a head coach. Coach Murphy currently has 499 wins and only 182 losses in his coaching career. His coaching career began in 1985 for the Sandia Matadors as assistant baseball, football and girls basketball coach. Ron’s first head-coaching position was at Albuquerque’s St. Pius X High School starting in 1990. He led the Sartans to back to back Class AAAA state championship games in 1996 and 1997. He was 117-42 with the Sartans.
Ron became the Head Baseball Coach at Rio Rancho High School in time for its first season in 1998. Ron has led the Rams to 382 wins with only 140 losses and 3 state titles. In 2007, the Rams went on to win the State Championship without making an error and only allowing two runs scored in the three State tournament games. In 2008 the Rams were again very strong and finished 3rd in State. They were 25-3 overall. In 2009 the Rams won their second State Championship by beating nationally ranked La Cueva High School 6-5. In 2010 Coach Murphy once again led the Rams to the State Championship game with a 27-3 record. The Rams were State Runner-up’s in 2010. In 2013 Coach Murphy again led the Rams to a State Championship by beating Sandia High School. In 2016, the Rams lost a 9 inning State Championship game to Carlsbad. The Rio Rancho Baseball team has now won district titles nine times. He has brought them to the final four 8 times.
Coach Murphy has sent numerous of players to college and a couple to play professional baseball over the years which he is very proud of. He has coached Brendan Donnelly, former Boston Red Sox and Anaheim Angels relieve pitcher and Black Swihart, catcher of the Boston Red Sox. Murphy has been the head coach at several North-South All-Star baseball games in Las Cruces, and in 2006 he was the head coach for the West All-Stars in the New Mexico Baseball Classic at Isotopes Park. Coach Murphy also was the assistant coach for the West team in the 2007 All-American game on Fox TV. Coach Murphy has been named District Coach of the Year 18 times in his coaching career. He has also won the State and Metro Coach of the Year numerous times including State Coach of the Year this past season. In 2007 he was one of the five finalists nationally for National Baseball Coach of the Year. Coach Murphy has also traveled to Australia & Puerto Rico coaching baseball teams for the USA. He is also involved in coaching the U.S. Baseball Academy, Coast to Coast Baseball and the Las Vegas Baseball Academy. In 2014 Coach Murphy was inducted into the Rio Rancho High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Tom’s teams won 18 consecutive district championships and four state championships During his high school coaching tenure. His teams appeared in seven state championship games. Farmington High School was ranked in both national polls four of the seven years during 1990-199 seasons. He has had over 200 student athletes attend college on baseball scholarships and numerous players sign MLB professional contracts. Tom received numerous accolades during his coaching tenure including three national coaching awards and numerous state and regional honors. He was also inducted into the Farmington High School Hall of Fame and was the first inductee into the New Mexico High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. Tom was one of the founders of the New Mexico Baseball Coaches Association. He coached the 1990 and 1991 Junior Olympic Baseball team. He also served on numerous national selection committees for the Jr. Pan Am games and four national committees for the Baseball Coaches Association and the American Baseball Coaches association. He has lectured at over 25 state conventions and two national conventions. He has produced four instructional videos. His coached the McKinney Marshals in the Texas Collegiate League where his team won the championship in 2005 and was runner-up in 2004 and 2006. He has served as a part time professional baseball scout for numerous organizations and presently works for the New York Mets. He was one of the original instructors at the Dallas Baseball Academy and presently runs his own private baseball instruction business. Tom is teaching science in the McKinney Independent School District in McKinney, Texas. He has been in public education for 37 years. McLamore was a high school baseball/ football coach, science teacher and administrator in Farmington, New Mexico for 21 years. He was teacher of the year twice in Farmington and developed a Pre Med Program at FHS while teaching Anatomy and Physiology. There are numerous students from FHS whom have entered the medical field after completing this Pre Med Program. Prior to his teaching experiences in Farmington, Tom taught and coached in Grants, New Mexico for four years.
TOBY ``MANZ`` MANZANARES
Toby “Manz” Manzanares enters his 31ST year as a head coach in high school volleyball in New Mexico. Toby’s teams have been in 12 championship games, winning 7 times – one at St. Pius X High School in 1994 and 6 titles at Rio Rancho High School 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009. His Rams teams went on to unbelievable 9 straight years in playing in the large school division state championship game from 2001-2009. Toby Manzanares has coached and taught Physical Education at Rio Rancho High School since the school opened in 1997. In those 20 years as the Ram’s head coach, his overall record 300-164, winning ten consecutive District 1-5A titles from 2000-’09
While at St. Pius X High School, Toby led the Sartans to a NM Class 3A State runner-up finish in 1993 and the NM Class 3A State Championship in 1994, posting an undefeated season of 21-0. In addition to coaching the NMHSCA North All Star teams in 1994 and 2004, Coach “Manz” has been named “Coach of the Year” five times in two classifications and was named the New Mexico High School Coaches Association “Coach of the Year” in 2005 and the Albuquerque-Metro Volleyball Coaches Association “Coach of the Year” in 2006. Coach “Manz” has an overall career record of 419-237.
Coach “Manz” graduated from St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque and attended Eastern New Mexico University. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Physical Education with a minor in Health Education.
WILLIAM (BILL) SPAHN
William (Bill) Spahn distinguished himself as one of the nation’s top swimming coaches while coaching UNM swimming program for 24 years. Spahn spent four years at Kansas before taking over at UNM in 1981.One of his biggest accomplishments was coaching the Lobos to a first ever Western Athletic Conference Championship in 1986.
UNM disbanded the women’s program in 1987-88 because of budget cuts in the athletic department. Spahn still let his girls on scholarship compete that season. UNM revived the program for the ’91-92 season. Meanwhile, Spahn coached the men’s team to runner-up WAC finishes in ’90 and ’93. Then, the men’s team lost all scholarships in 1996-97. Spahn kept the program alive for three more seasons, with the help of other in-state scholarship support, but it finally shut down before UNM joined the MWC in 1999.
His ability to consistently produce teams that were able to compete for a championship resulted in four WAC Coach-of-the-Year honors for Spahn. Under Spahn, UNM’s had 55 conference champions and 13 All-Americans during his tenure. He reflects fondly about former walk-on turned All-American Teri Sexton in 1988 and All-American Duncan Cruickshank (all four of his years, 1984-87), among the Lobos’ best swimmers. He had the pleasure of coaching Tom Jager, who at the time was the world champion in the 50 free and 400 free relay, the world-record holder in the 50 free, and a gold and bronze medalist at the 1992 Olympics.
Known to his swimmers simply as “Bill,” Spahn has a knack of transcending the coach-student athlete dynamic. He and his wife, Leslie, moved to Fort Collins, Colo., where he coaches the FAST. a youth swim club program.
Amber Ashcraft has been the La Cueva High School Bears’ girl’s soccer coach since 1997. Her overall head coaching record is 386-68. She has led La Cueva to nine state titles, the most recent in 2017. Her Bears were also runner-up 6 times.
Amber was named the 2018 Girls Soccer Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Twice before she had been a finalist for this award.
Amber, then a senior at La Cueva, delivered a penalty-kick goal against Albuquerque Academy to put the Bears into the 1992 state championship game against Eldorado at the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium.
BROOKS LEE JENNINGS
Brooks Lee Jennings was an outstanding high school and college athlete plus a long time official in basketball and football. Brooks was an official in football and basketball for 35 years. Brooks played basketball at Clovis High School for Coach Bill Stockton.
He went on to play college basketball at Eastern New Mexico University from 1955-1960. He was selected “Outstanding Freshman” in 1956. He was honored with “Al Garten” Award in 1957 and 1959 as the most valuable basketball player. In 1959 was honored as “Greatest Greyhound”, which honors the most outstanding athlete. He held several basketball individual records – two of the records still stand … most free throws in a single game (21) and most free throws made in a career (525). Brooks ranks 6th highest scorer in ENMU basketball history.
Brooks’ first job was at Aztec High School as a teacher/coach. He was there for 2 years and then returned to Clovis where he taught and coached for 30 years until his retirement in 1991. Brooks became Athletic Director at Clovis High in 1985 and served in that capacity for 7 years. He was chair of the Social Studies Department from 1975 to 1985. After retiring, he went to work at ENMU as a Supervisor of Student Teachers and worked in that capacity for 15 years.
Brooks was inducted into both the ENMU Athletic Hall of Honor and New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) Hall of Fame in 1995. He was inducted in 2007 into the New Mexico Officials Association (NMOA) Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was inducted into the Clovis Municipal School’ Education Foundation Hall of Honor. He has served as a board member of both the NMAA and NMOA.
Cheryl Shaw Johnson is best known as one of the legendary high school softball coach in New Mexico. For 31 years, she has worked in education as a PE teacher and volleyball, basketball and softball coach as well as an assistant principal, principal and athletic director. Her softball teams won three state titles- one at La Cueva High School (2005) and two at Volcano Vista High School .and were in the state tournament every year – 14 times. She was recognized in 2017 as the Fuddruckers Softball State Championship ‘Legend of the Diamond”.
Cheryl was a star athlete – volleyball, basketball and softball at Manzano High School from 1973-1976. She helped the Monarchs capture the 1975 state volleyball title. In 1976, she was instrumental as a pitcher and hitter in leading the Monarchs to the 4A state championship in softball.
Cheryl was attend New Mexico State on a softball scholarship but end up playing volleyball. She transferred at the end of the first semester to the University of New Mexico in 1977. She was one of the top players on the first softball team at UNM in 1978. In 1979, she helped UNM reach the nationals after only the team’s second season ever. She was a golden glover at second base rarely have any errors. She finished her career as one of the best hitter ever. She still ranks fourth all-time in triples for a career and fifth for a season in triples.
Cheryl began her coaching career at the West Mesa High School’s girls basketball coach in 1981. She coached basketball for four years, plus junior varsity coach in volleyball and softball. In 1990, she was named the head softball coach leading the Mustangs over the next four years to four state appearances – fourth in 1990, third in 1991 and runner-up in 1992 and 1993. Her overall record at West Mesa was 82-17 with four district titles. In 1991 was named as one of the first women to be an athletic director at an Albuquerque Public High School.
In 1993, Cheryl left coaching to embark to be administrator in Albuquerque Public School system. She was an assistant principal at Cibola High School (1993-1996), Albuquerque High School (1996-1997), Highland High School-summer program and Rio Grande. She was principal at Del Norte High School in 2000-2001.
Cheryl returned to teaching and coaching volleyball at Valley High School in 2001-2002. In 2003, she took over the softball program at La Cueva High School. She was lead the Bears in four years to the state softball title in 2005 and two third-place finishes. The 2005 State Champs were the first state softball title by a APS school since 1989. Cheryl had three district titles and two APS Metro titles.
In 2007, she would become the first athletic director and softball coach at Volcano Vista High School. The first year, 2008, the Hawks played in the Junior Varsity level only with no senior class. Her JV team came in second at the JV city tournament. In 2009, the Hawks would qualify for state losing to the eventual 4A State Championship, Piedra Vista. In 2010, the Hawks would lose to Piedra Vista in the 4A State Championship game. In 2011, the Hawks moved up to 5A and captured the school’s first state championship with a 27-2 record. In 2012, the Hawks would win its second state title with a 32-0 record, which is the single greatest season in New Mexico Softball History. Her Hawks teams from 2011 to 2012 put together a state record 52 straight victories. She was end her coach career in 2014 with a third-place finish in state and 24-6 record. Her Hawk teams won 5 district championships.
He has been a racquetball champion. She was 4th in Nationals in 1996. 3 state titles, Softball – slow pitcher.
Cheryl has received many honors such as APS Female “Sports” Coach of the Year in 1993. She was inducted into the Albuquerque Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame.
Cody Unser is a very exceptional young woman. She was struck down early in her childhood by Transverse Myelitis, which left her paralyzed from her chest down and confined to a wheelchair. This disability did not stop her drive to live a normal life and to help others with the similar condition she was in.
She created the Cody First Step Foundation, based in Albuquerque, NM, to champion awareness that persons with disabilities can accomplish living an extra-ordinary life. Her partnership with PADI, Newman’s Own, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America and various Major Medical Institutions, has allowed Cody to train numerous paralyzed persons the sport of SCUBA Diving.
Her tremendous success in making a difference in the lives of so many people and opening the door to the underwater sport of SCUBA Diving, led to her induction on April 3,2016 into the Women’s Divers Hall of Fame.
Danny Villanueva was born November 5, 1937 in Tucumcari, NM; he passed away on June 18, 2015. Danny attended Calexico High School and New Mexico State University. He was a place kicker and punter who played for the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys over 8 years. He played for the Rams from 1960 to 1964, setting the team’s record for single season punting average (45.5 yards per punt in 1962) and career gross punting average (44.3 yards per punt). Both stood for 45 years. Villanueva was traded to the Cowboys for the 1965 season, and played in two NFL Championship Games including the famed 1967 “Ice Bowl” in Green Bay – his final NFL game. Villanueva set a Cowboys franchise record by kicking 100 consecutive extra point conversions. (1965-1967).Cowboys, setting a team record that ran 41 years before being broken. For his NFL career, Villanueva averaged 42.8 yards a punt, held a 97.9 percent accuracy rate on PATs (236 of 241) He led the NFL in punts and punting yards in 1962 and 1963 with the Rams.
Villanueva, a transfer from Reedley (Calif) Junior College, played for the Aggies as a punter, placekicker and quarterback in 1958 and 1959. He helped lead the
Aggies to an 8-3 season as a senior, including a 28-8 win over North Texas in the
1959 Sun Bowl.
While playing in the NFL, Villanueva also started a career in broadcasting as the sports director for KMEXTV in Los Angeles. After his NFL retirement in 1968, he became the station’s fulltime news director and later the station’s general manager. It was from that position that Villanueva became a pioneer of the Spanish
International Network that was later sold and renamed Univision.
Villanueva, an English major and sportswriter while at NM State, was a strong friend to his alma mater as well, giving the university millions of dollars over his lifetime. As a philanthropist, he established the Danny Villanueva Scholarship Endowment to recognize NM State students who excel in leadership and community involvement in 1991. In 2002, Villanueva presented a major gift toward the university’s stadium annex project. It serves academic as well as athletic purposes, and Villanueva’s gift funded the Danny Villanueva Victory Club dining facility.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in 1999.He was inducted into the US Bank/NM State Hall of Fame in 1970. Villanueva served as the Commissioner of Boxing for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Villanueva was a co-founder of the L.A. Galaxy Major League Soccer. Villanueva was inducted as an inaugural member of the National Hispanic Hall of Fame in 1988, as an inaugural member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s Management Hall of Fame in 2003 and inducted into the Hispanic Sports Foundation for Educations’ National Hispanic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Dewey Bohling, Albuquerque born, lettered three years in football and twice in track at Hardin Simmons University in 1956-1958… As a three year starter on the football team, he returned a total of 56 kicks for a combined 865 yards, the single season record until 1990, the only time it’s been topped. He earned First Team Border Conference honors in 1958. Bohling amassed 2,484 all-purpose yards, ranking seventh all time at HSU in the Division I era. He brought the Cowboys their only individual title of the 1957 Border Conference Track and Field Meet when he won the discus. In 1959, he left HSU to pursue a career in professional football, playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Titans, and the Buffalo Bills. He returned to HSU, completing his coursework in 1963, then worked as a football and track coach in New Mexico for 43 years. . He compiled a 150-100 record and won four district championships in football. In track, he won eight district championships, placed third in the state in 1970, and coached fifteen state champions. Bohling was at Wingate High School in Fort Wingate, N.M., from 1970 to ’77 where he coached football, track and basketball. He established the football and track program at Navajo Pine, coached at Window Rock, spent five years at Cuba, and from there went to Taos. He also coached at Hatch, Lordsburg, Eldorado, Menaul and today, he is assistant coach of girls’ varsity track and field at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque.
He was inducted into the New Mexico Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012.
MAJOR DOUG ZEMBIEC
Doug is known as the “Lion of Fallujah” and also referred to as the “Unapologetic Warrior” was an officer in the United States Marine Corps and member of the CIA’s Special Activities Division’s Ground Branch who was killed in action while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is best known for his actions during Operation Vigilant Resolve, which were detailed in the book No True Glory: A Front-line Account of the Battle of Fallujah by Bing West and for an article that ran in the Wall Street Journal following his death. As a wrestler, Doug was the first time New Mexico State Champion in any sport at La Cueva High School and the first repeat winner at La Cueva High School. He was undefeated in competition his senior year. Major Zembiec also earned High School All-American honors by placing 4th in the National High School Wrestling Tournament. He attended the United States Naval Academy where he was a collegiate wrestler compiling a 95–21–1 record and finishing as a two-time NCAA All-American. His fellow wrestlers sometimes referred to him as “The Snake” for his anaconda-like grip. Doug was well known amongst his contemporarie s throughout his athletic and professional life for his exceptional physical fitness. His coach, Reginald Wicks, referred to him as “the best-conditioned athlete I’ve ever been around.” Zembiec graduated from the Academy on May 31, 1995; then served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1995 until killed in action in 2007 — serving combat tours in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Frank was born and raised in Las Vegas where he wasa four sport letterman at West Las Vegas High School (’55). He also graduated from New Mexico Highlands University in 1959 with a degree in Journalism becoming the first in his family to achieve a college degree. Upon graduating from Highlands University, Frank worked for a year as a sports writer for the Albuquerque Journal, then as sports editor at the Santa Fe New Mexican. He then taught for a year at Pojoaque High School before returning to the Albuquerque Journal in 1962 where he worked until 1990. During his time as a Journal Sports writer, Frank covered virtually all sports in New Mexico including UNM Lobo football and basketball, and Albuquerque Dukes baseball and was known for his “Let’s Be Frank” bi-lines. Frank took particular joy, however, in covering high school sports. Frank wrote about high school teams, athletes, and coaches and devoted the majority of his career to promoting New Mexico high school athletics. The advent of HS box scores, statistics and top ten can all be attributed to Frank Maestas. Many of his articles brought tremendous pride and a sense of accomplishment to numerous New Mexico families.Frank Maestas also became a pioneer for Hispanics in Journalism in general and Sports Journalism in particular as he was one of the first Latino sportswriters in the nation back in the 60’s.Through hard work and dedication Frank became one of the most respected Sports Writers to ever cover events in the State of New Mexico and was always very proud to be a New Mexican.
Skidmore, a Rio Grande High School grad, made his mark as a professional bowler. He was on the Professional Bowler’s Association (PBA) Tour for 1981 to 1988 and then the Senior Tour from 2004 to present. He is also owner of the Skidmore’s Holiday Bowling Center from 1986 to the present. He won 6 PBA national tour titles, all were televised on national TV on ABC. He won two PBA Southwest Regional titles. He has 19 national TV appearances with a 24-12 record, which ranks 10 all-time. He has had 34 – 300 point games and 16 – 800 series (3 games). He was invited to represent the USA in the Japan Cup in 1984, 1985, and 1986. He represented New Mexico in the Coca Cola Cup in Washington D.C. as a junior golfer. He coaches the University of New Mexico bowling team from 1987-1995, r eaching a #15 ranking nationally in 1991. He has won the Governor’s Sports Award. He was Bowlers Journal International (BJI) 3rd team; All-American in 1983 and 1985; and was inducted to the Albuquerque Bowlers Hall of Fame in 1994. He was the Albuquerque Bowler of the Year in 1984. Not only has he been a highly successful pro bowler, but he has contributed so much to the sport and to the community. He set up Scholarship programs for the youth leagues and our center hosts the UNM bowling classes and team practices. We are also the home center for multiple high schools team for their practices and host a couple tournaments through their season.
Jack Nixon is currently in his 37th year as the radio play-by-play voice for New Mexico State University athletics. Only 11 other college-radio announcers have a longer tenure at one school than Nixon has at NM State. The ‘Voice of the Aggies’ has broadcast more than 400 Aggie football games and more than 1,000 Aggie men’s basketball games. Aside from men’s basketball and football, Nixon also has covered women’s basketball, volleyball, and softball.
Nixon first came to Las Cruces in 1976 and began his career as the sports director for KOBE 1450 AM radio. For the past 22 years he also has been the news director for Radio of Las Cruces.
During his time as a radio broadcaster, Nixon has won numerous local, state and national awards. In 1977, the Associated Press recognized Nixon with the New Mexico Spot News Reporting Award. The AP also awarded Nixon the New Mexico News Director of the Year award in 1980. In 1979, the National Association of Sports Writers and Broadcasters honored Nixon as its Sportscaster of the Year, an award he would also win in 2012.
In recent years, the New Mexico Broadcasters Association has recognized Nixon on numerous occasions. In 2009, the NMBA recognized Nixon as its Sportscaster of the Year as well as its News Director of the Year. He would win both NMBA awards again in 2012. In 2012 and 2013, the NMBA honored Nixon with the award for best feature story and best in-depth news series for his work with NM Stat
Jarrin is a former UNM and La Cueva High School soccer player. The Albuquerque athlete is a local standout who won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics. Solomon missed qualifying for the individual 400 competition by only one one-hundredth of a second, but qualified for the second leg of the men’s 4 by 400 relay. He helped Trindad and tobago secure the bronze medal with a time of 2 minutes 59. 4 s econds setting a new national record for the Caribbean country. He has made every world team since 2007 for. Trinidad and Tobago. In college, he was one of the premier 400-meter men in the nation. He was a conference champ, setting school records. He won multiple Mountain West Conference titles, set a school indoor record in the 400 and became an All-American. In 2014finished strong with a new PB of 44.98 and made the Commonwealth games final in the open 400 then topped it off with the bronze medal in the 4x400m; A 2004 graduate of Albuquerque La Cueva High School…four-year letterman in track & field for head coach Mike Tixier…helped La Cueva win four straight 5A state titles during his career…state runner-up in the 400 as a senior…has run a 48.1 split in the 4x400m relay…three-time all-state defender in soccer…2004 District Player of the Year…all-metro selection in ’04 as well…led LCHS to the 2003 state soccer championship…was recruited by Duke to play soccer.
Jim Marshall: Coach Marshall is a Navy veteran, having served in the Korean War. Upon leaving the Navy, he attended the University of Kansas and played both baseball and football. Coach Marshall came to New Mexico Highlands University in 1965 and stayed until his retirement in 1991. While at NMHU, he taught numerous classes; coached baseball, football, and softball; was also the Athletic Director. As baseball coach, he made several national tournament appearances, winning a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP title in 1967.
He moved to Hobbs in 1993 to take over the baseball program at College of the Southwest (now University of the Southwest), where he also served as Athletic Director until he retired again in 2004. His teams won a conference championship, and made it to the regional tournament while he coached there for 11 years. Over 28 seasons of coach college baseball, Coach Marshall’s teams won 619 games. He was inducted into the NMHU Hall of Honor in 2002.
Guzman was Saint Joseph College Athlete- Men’s Basketball in the late 50’s. He was named the 1956 New Mexico Athlete of the Year. He excelled in swimming. Here are some of his accomplishments; 1958 Junior National Champion 200 M. Butterfly- Men’s Swimming (Denver, CO) record was held for a long period of time 1960 fourth U.S Army triple gold medal winner 1961 U.S Army Olympic Swim Team- Iowa City, Iowa under Coach David Armbruster 1961 Toured Germany with U.S Army Olympic team 1961 International Military Championships (Swimming) Sonthofen, Germany Participated in swimming in the Senior Olympics from 1998- to present – El Paso Senior Games 16 gold medals He was a Board Member of NM Senior Olympics- 1998-2000 In 2007 Inducted into El Paso Hall of Fame for Swimming.
Jimmie Guymon was a basketball player at Valley High School and at Eastern New Mexico University and later professionally in United Kingdom. The first time Jimmie Guymon touched a basketball was when he was just four years of age. What transpired from there was a story that led him to being one of the first United State imports to play pro basketball in the United Kingdom. At Valley High School, Jim was part of the school’s first State Championship in 1965. He was one of the leading scorers and rebounders in New Mexico in his senior year. His nickname “Golden Arm” was given to him because of his extremely fine outside touch in shooting the basketball. When people talk about the greatest basketball player in Albuquerque history… the name of Jim “Golden Arm” Guymon always comes up!
The 6’2″ guard took success with him wherever he went, it seemed, going on to Eastern New Mexico University where he won an NAIA National Championship as a sophomore. He was a NAIA All-American for the Greyhounds. His winning track record didn’t go unnoticed as he was drafted in the fifth round of the NBA draft by the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), and the ninth round by the Dallas Chaparrals in the old ABA draft. Luck was not on Guymon’s side early in his pro career, as he was struck down with infectious hepatitis. It took him over a year to recover from that fully. After that he tried out with the Phoenix Suns but he got cut. Thus, Guymon made the decision to head to London, England to play for Crystal Palace, where he went on to average 28 points and 8 rebounds per game. After securing a starting spot with the London team he won three championships and led the team to the quarter finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup; still the only English team to do so. He is considered to be the best American to play. Guymon’s playing career finished with Solent Stars, but before deciding to focus on one on one teaching of the game, he tried his hand at coaching.
He also coached basketball in United Kingdom and has culminated in him being recognized as one of the top player development club coaches. Guymon is perhaps most well-known for his work with a skinny 17 year old big kid named Joel Freeland, who grew to be one of the premier big men in Europe and is now suiting up in a Portland Trailblazers jersey and Will Neighbour, who’s based in Arkansas with UALR and is tipped to have a bright professional career ahead of him. Both Freeland and Neighbour attribute a lot of their success to Guymon.
In 1971 was named the Greatest Greyhound, which is the year’s top athlete at Eastern New Mexico. Jim was inducted into the Eastern New Mexico Hall of Honor in 1999.
John Levra coached football for 44 years starting in 1959. He coached 7 years in high school, 14 years at the college level and professionally one year in the Canadian Football League and the last 22 years in the NFL. He has been a football clinic lecturer since 2003 and wrote the book, “Coaching Defensive Lineman” in 1994. He also has 14 Defensive videos produced in 1994 by Coaches Choice Co.
He began coaching in college as the Offensive Coordinator for New Mexico Highlands University Cowboys, which had a 9-2 season record and played in NAIA Playoffs. The next year, John became the head coach leading the Cowboys to two NAIA Playoffs in 1967 & 1969. He was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1967. His record at NMHU was 35-4-1. He recruited and coached Don Woods (NMSHOF 1999 inductee) and Carl Garrett, who both ended up being NFL Rookie of the Year their respective rookie years. He left in 1971 to be the head coach and Athletic Director at Stephen F. Austin University where he had a 57-24-1 record. He won the school’s first Bowl game in 1973.
Levra started in the NFL under Bum Phillips in New Orleans as running backs coach for five seasons. He was the defensive line coach with Chicago Bears for seven years (1986-1992). The Bears had the number one defense in 1986 and 1987. The Super Bowl Championship team in 1986 allowed defensively 187 points, which was a NFL record until 2000 when the Baltimore Ravens broke it. The Bears had 4 division titles plus he coached in the Pro Bowl in 1988. He was the offensive line coach in 1993 & 1994 for the Denver Broncos under Coach Wade Phillips… He was the defensive line coach under Dennis Green for the Minnesota Vikings for three seasons. He coached again for Wade Phillips for the Buffalo Bills as their defensive line coach. The 1999 defense was number one in the NFL.
As a college football player at Pittsburg State University (PSU), he was a member of the 1957 NAIA National Championship team. In 1958, John was the team captain and was honored with the Mr. Football Award as the team’s most valuable player. He was 2nd team All-Conference in 1958. Levra earned a Bachelor of Science and masters in physical education.
He was the team captain and All-Conference as a senior for Arma High School (Kansas) for the undefeated team in 1954. In 2000 he was inducted into the Pittsburg State University Hall of Fame. In 2004 was PSU Meritorious Achievement Award. He was the head coach in the Cactus Bowl Division II All-Star game from 2008-2011. He was the defensive line coach at the Football University Camps in 2010. He was an assistant coach at the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game and the 2013 Ray Com College All-Star Game.
Kenneth has served as President of the Norfolk Tides and Albuquerque Isotopes baseball clubs and Ovations Food Services, since 1996. In 2009 , he was namend Baseball America Minor League Executive of the Year. Ken has served on the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees as the Triple-A at-large representative since 2004. Prior to that, he was the International League representative from 1998-2003 Mr. Young has owned and operated several successful businesses over the last 25 years. Until October of 2010, Mr. Young served as a director of Progress Bank of Florida, which during 2010 was closed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the FDIC was named receiver. Mr. Young brings to our Board a wide range of business expertise and management skills, and provides knowledge and insights developed from his past experience serving on the board of directors of another financial institution. The Isotopes began play in 2003 when the Calgary Cannons relocated to New Mexico. In 2012, Forbes ranked the Isotopes as the fourth most valuable franchise in Minor League Baseball. Though team president Ken Young admitted that the name came from the series the “Simpsons”,, he said at the name’s unveiling, “We picked it because over the past year it has become a popular name, and it does have something to do with Albuquerque. In the three months after the team’s name was announced in September 2002, before the team ever took the field, the team sold more merchandise than the Albuquerque Dukes sold in any single season,. and led minor league baseball in merchandising revenue in 2003.. The Sports Turf Managers Association named that Isotopes Park has been named the winner for the 2013 Field of the Year in all of professional baseball. The organization’s Field of the Year Award has been given since 1992 to members who manage baseball fields at the professional level.
Lloyd McPeters has experienced a 38-year successful football officiating career working at every level of the game. Lloyd was the first National Football League hired from New Mexico. His officiating has taken him to England, Spain, Canada, Germany, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and The Netherlands
In 1972 while living in Cincinnati, he started in football officiating. Returning to Albuquerque in 1978, he continued to work high school and small college football games. From 1980 through 1992 he worked a full Western Athletic Conference schedule as well as officiating several post season bowl games. He has worked the NAIA Championship Playoff, California Bowl, Australian Bowl, Freedom Bowl, and the Hall of Fame Bowl. In 1993, he started officiating in the National Football League. He started his 17-year career in the NFL as a line judge and a field judge. He then moved into the booth as a replay official. He worked several NFL playoff games during his tenure in the NFL.
Lloyd was an all-state quarterback for the Highland High School Hornets in the mid-1960s. According to 2010 Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Ciccarello, “It should be noted that in New Mexico as a student, athlete, official, and a business man Lloyd himself was a role mode and great athletic contributor in Albuquerque (and throughout New Mexico) for countless thousands in our local communities”. He has worked as an insurance agent for over 30 years.
Marty Saiz, has been involved in New Mexico athletics for 43 years as an athlete, coach, administrator and business sponsor. He was a 3-year letterman in both basketball and baseball at Cibola High School. In 1980, he became one of the first non-teacher to coach basketball at Cibola High School. He would assist the legendary and 2017 New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Frank Castillo for four years while going to college at the University of New Mexico. Marty started as the freshman basketball coach, then the following year as the sophomore coach. The last two years, he was the junior varsity coach. His last game of coaching was the 1984 North-South All-Star game, which Coach Castillo was the head coach. Marty and Gene Pino were the assistant coaches. Many of his JV players would go on to play in the 1985 and 1986 State Championship games.
After discussing the financial potential of coaching and teaching with Coach Castillo, he decided to venture into the business world and become a State Farm Insurance Agent in 1985. Marty would financially support local little leagues and high school teams. In 1995 began coaching youth basketball at the Bernalillo Park & Recreation and Albuquerque Youth Basketball League (AYBL). In 1999, Marty would start coaching AAU basketball. In 2000, he became a board member for AYBL and eventually in 2004 become the President until 2011. With the assistance of Gene Pino, the Executive Director, they grew AYBL form 65 teams to the largest winter youth basketball league in the state with 155 teams.
In 2007, Marty started and coordinated the top AAU basketball club in the state, the Danny Granger Hurricanes/D1 Ambassadors. Since 2007, over 140 high school players have played in the club that went on to play college basketball on a scholarship. The Club is considered one of the Elite club in the Southwest playing in only NCAA Certified events or where there are recruiting services. Players like Chad Adams (UNM), Jaye Crockett (Texas Tech), Alex Kirk (UNM), Bryce Alford (UCLA), Cullen Neal (UNM-University of Mississippi), George King (Colorado) and Jamuni McNease (Oklahoma) are some of the top players that played in the Club.
In 1996, under the leadership of Dennis Hodges, Agency Field Executive, Marty helped originate and help coordinate the State Farm Insurance Player of the Week and the End of the Season Recognition Banquets for football, basketball and baseball from 1997-2013 in the Albuquerque Metro area. Dennis and Marty helped State Farm Insurance become the first ever corporate title sponsor of the New Mexico Activities. State Farm was the title sponsor for 9 years. Marty was the NMAA title sponsor for high school volleyball from 2004-2006. Marty continues to be the major sponsor of the Marty Saiz Insurance Agency, Inc. Albuquerque Metro High School Volleyball banquet since 2005. Marty spent countless hours at games taking action photos and creating the thousands of awards for the student-athletes in the various sports. For his efforts, the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame honored Marty as the Promotion of the Year in 2003. From 2004-2012, he has sponsored the top 10 multi-sports seniors in the Albuquerque metro or Statewide awards at the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2003, Marty began to assist 2015 New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Henry “T” Tafoya on KDEF-AM Radio doing color commentary and/or play-by-play of high school basketball and football games. Henry and Marty broadcasted easily over 1000 games. Marty still helps occasionally as a color commentator for Proview Networks on their high school game broadcasts. He has been major sponsor of Albuquerque Public School Athletics and the New Mexico Games for last 18 years. He has also been a major sponsor of other charities over the last 13 years such as Juvenile Diabetes, Research Foundation, ALS- Lou Gherig’s Disease, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce Educational Scholarship Foundation and several more. He was a on the Albuquerque Public Schools Golf Extravaganza Committee plus a sponsor for the big golf event that raised money for the APS Foundation. Marty has run and organized basketball skills camps for the last 10 years bring national trainers like Ganon Baker, David Nurse and the Point Guard College. Since 2010, he annually hosts and organizes the Top 100 New Mexico High School Basketball Showcase, which is broadcasted over internet to college coaches and gives local fans a preview of the top players in New Mexico.
Mark Keil grew up in Albuquerque, NM where in 1985 he won the state 4A singles title while at Highland High School. He was a high school All-American. He earned a scholarship to play at the University of South Florida. He led USF to two Sun Belt Conference titles. After two years of college, he embarked on a pro tennis career eventually becoming a doubles specialist. He was part of five doubles ATP titles and eight runners up .After 8 years on the ATP tour he coached at two colleges and operated a tennis academy in Hawaii, Kazakhstan and China. With doubles partner Geoff Grant, they produced a tennis documentary in 2004 entitled “The Journeyman” . This documentary was about Marks day to day life as an ATP touring professional recently Mark produced another tennis documentary entitled “Journeyman 2”. Mark was labelled as “the worst player ever to beat Pete Sampras” But in 1991 at Queens Club (warm up tournament to Wimbledon) Mark beat Pete Sampras in a very hard fought match. Quite an achievement to beat Pete Sampras back in the day! He played main draw singles of Wimbledon 92 93. Only New Mexican to ever win a round in “singles” at a Grand Slam event- Australian Open 93. He won 5 ATP World Tour Doubles titles. Mark now lives in Phoenix.
Randy Brown was born in Chicago, Illinois. Randy went on to play 12 seasons and 655 games in the NBA. He was selected in the second round, 31st pick overall in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Sacramento Kings. He played from 1991 to 2003, as a point guard. Brown signed by his hometown team the Chicago Bulls in 1995, and he provided valuable energy and aggressiveness on defense off the bench during the Bulls’ “three-peat NBA Championships” (1996–1998).He was part of the 1996 team that won an NBA-record 72 games during the regular season. A fan favorite, Brown was also one of the few veteran players who stayed with the Bulls after the 1998-99 lock out. With the absence of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, he became a full-time starter and averaged 8.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds (all career highs) during the remainder of the 1998-99 season. After one more season in Chicago, He led the Bulls in assists in 1999. Brown played briefly for the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns, and he retired from the NBA in 2003 with 3,148 career points and 1,420 career assists.
Collegiately he played for Howard County JC in Houston and transferred his junior year to New Mexico State (1989-1991). He was a captain for the 1990 team. He was the first Aggie to be named first team All-Big West for two seasons. In 2007 Named to the NMSU All-Century Basketball Team.
After retirement, Randy has worked in the Bulls organization in variety capacities such as director of player personnel, special assistant to the general manager, assistant general manager, and assistant coach
Robert “Bob” Ogas was born in Silver City, NM. He grew up in a home where his parents believed that participating in sports would be the key to keeping their kids out of trouble. Bob played football, basketball, and baseball in high school. He attended Western New Mexico University in Silver City. He played two years of college baseball while working toward fulfilling his dream of becoming a teacher and coach. Bob was a leader, an educator, a teacher, a coach, and a community servant who made a difference for his students, his community, and his state. Because of Bob’s involvement and leadership in athletics, all school-related activities, and community and state programs, his success and influence can best be reflected by Coach Ogas’ commitment and his passionate belief that all kids will succeed if given a chance.
In the spring of 1971 Coach Ogas started the baseball program with just about nothing. He turned an old cotton field to a baseball field that in 3 short years would lead the Trojans to the championship game, losing 3-0 to Carlsbad. Coach would drag the field with his Datsun pickup. After that his players would line up on the first base line and walk to the second base, then third base and pick up rocks till their gloves filled up. He made the Trojans a powerhouse for the next 14 years including winning the state championship in 1981. His record was 163-113.
Bob was more than just a baseball coach, he was high school principal, athletic director and community leader from 1963 to the present. No challenge or goal was too big for Bob to handle. Setting high goals for himself, his kids and parents, his staff, and his Las Cruces Community, he developed a culture in Las Cruces that all kids will succeed – just give them a chance. Creating opportunities, teaching the values of hard-work, team work, integrity, and trust, Bob instilled a competitive spirit that will influence kids, athletic and activity programs, and community and state programs for a number of years. Under Bob’s leadership, the Mayfield Family was born, was created many championships in all sports. The Family includes all current students and past alumni who still to this day consider themselves as part of the FAMILY. In fact, Bob is so well respected in our Las Cruces community and the Family has grown so large that you can drive around and see “Viva Ogas” signs and bumper stickers!
New Mexico Activities Association
• Inducted into Hall of Fame – 2005
• Distinguish Service Award – 2004
• District 3 AAAA/AAAAA Chairperson – 1986 to 2005
• Member of Executive/Athletic Committees
• Basketball Official – 1966-72
• Worked State Baseball Tournament – 5 years
New Mexico High School Coaches Association
• Inducted into Hall of Honor and Pride – 2012
• Distinguish Service Award – 1994
• New Mexico High School Baseball Coach of Year – 1979, 1981, 1982
• New Mexico High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame – 2009
• Baseball All-Star Game – Named Bob Ogas North vs South All-Star Baseball Classic – 2012
• Certificate of Recognition by State Board of Education and Governor Johnson – 1997
• NM Music Educators Association Administrator of the Year – 1998
• NM Foreign Language Educators Administrator of the Year – 1998
• Re-Learning NM Committee – 1990’s
• North Central Accreditation Committee – 3 years
• NMSU College of Education Distinguished Alumni – 2002
• Western New Mexico University
• Distinguished Alumni Family in Education – 2010
• Alumni Hall of Fame (Bob & Olivia) – 2011
• Alumni Association Board – 2016
• Mesilla Valley Alumni Association – Member – 2011 to present including President in 2016
• Created and organized North vs South All-Star Baseball Game – 1976
• State Runner-Up – 1973, 1985
• Started baseball programs at Hondo (1963) and Mayfield (1971) High Schools
• Started NM Baseball Invitational Tournament – 1973 to present
• Organized baseball clinic with NMSU – 1978 to 1984
• First All-South Baseball Coach – 1976
• Dedication of Robert Ogas Baseball Field at Mayfield High School – 2004
• Spearheaded MHS committee to evaluate athletic facilities for compliance with Title IX –
• Breakfast Optimist Club – Member – 1975 to present including President – 1983
• District Service Award – 1988, 1989
• Optimist International President’s Award – 2004
• Mayor’s Sports Facilities Evaluation Task Force – 2009 to 2011
• Visioning Committee – St. Albert’s Catholic Church
• Superintendent’s Search Committee – Las Cruces Public Schools
• Field of Dreams Task Force – 1984 through 2000
• Las Cruces Roadrunner Car Club Member – 2006 to present
• Conlee Little League Baseball League Director – 1965 to 1969
Tim remains one of UNM’s most prolific and decorated tennis players. He was the only UNM player to participate in the NCAA Championships all four years of his college career. Garcia earned All-America honors in 1976 and reached the semifinals of the singles draw at the NCAAs. He faced Stanford’s John McEnroe at the 1978 NCAA Championships. Garcia won the Western Athletic Conference singles title in 1975 and ’76 and was a four-time all-conference selection. After college, Garcia volleyed his way to the professional circuit for three years, reaching a ranking of No. 130 and No. 54 in international doubles. He played in the U.S. Open, French Open and the Australian Open. “Tim is the best tennis player ever to come out of New Mexico” quote from famous tennis enthusiast Bud Collins in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Bud Collins was visiting Santa Fe a few years ago when the New Mexican newspaper staff interviewed him for an article that was published. A great compliment from one of the great tennis critics. State Tennis Champion at Highland High in Albuquerque. UNM Number 1 player in Singles & Doubles. NCAA All-American 1976; In 1976 Tim was a semifinalist in singles in the NCAA Championship. Tim played 4 times at the French Open and the US Open. Tim had 1 appearance at Wimbledon. Tim is now a judge and has served on the NM Court of Appeals for five years. He also served as District Judge in Rio Arriba County for six years prior to that. Tim is still active in Tennis playing numerous national and local events. Tim also assists the United State Tennis Association with junior development and instruction for underprivileged youth in Santa Fe.
Vernon Decatur Stephens
(October 23, 1920 – November 3, 1968) played in 1720 games as a shortstop in the major leagues for 15 seasons. This is the most seasons and games played by any major league player born from New Mexico. He played in the American League for four different teams – St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles. A native of a very small farming town of McAlister, New Mexico, Stephens batted and threw right-handed. He was also nicknamed “Pop-up Stephens”, “Junior”, and “Buster”.
One of the strongest-hitting shortstops in major league history, Stephens compiled a .286 batting average with 247 home runs and 1174 RBI in 1720 games. Breaking with American Major League baseball, Stephens signed a five-year contract with the Mexican League in 1946. He had been in Mexico only a few days when his father, a minor league umpire, and the Browns scout Jack Fournier drove down and brought him back to the United States.
In August 2008, he was named as one of the ten former players who began their careers before 1943 to be considered by the Veterans Committee for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.
8-time All-Star (1943–44, 1945 [non-official game], 1946, 1948–51)
Six times in the Top 10 in MVP voting (1942–45, 1948–49)
Led the American League in home runs during 1945
Three times led the American League in RBI (1944, 1949–50)
Collected 440 RBI within three consecutive seasons (1948–50)
Three times in the Top 10 in batting average (1942–43, 1946)
Twice led the American League in games played (1948–49)
Was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2006
Only man to play for 1944 American League Champion St. Louis Browns and the Baltimore Orioles, the team the Browns franchise became after it moved to Baltimore in 1954
Holds the Major League Baseball record for RBI in a season by a shortstop, with 159 in 1949.
Vern Stephens died of a heart attack in Long Beach, California at 48 years of age.
Deanna McGillivray is a multi-sport athlete – rugby, handball and weight lifting. Deanna played on the UNM Women’s Rugby Team from 2005-2009. In 2009, she was co-captain and placed 3rd for Division 1 Collegiate National Championships. In 2009, Deanna was named Division 1 Collegiate All American for USA Women’s Rugby.
From 2008-2013, she played on the USA Women’s National Rugby 15s Team. In 2010, she was a reserve on the USA Women’s Rugby 15s World Cup roster. Also, that year led the New Mexico Club Rugby Atomic Sisters to second place in the Division 2 Nationals. In 2011 & 2012 was on the USA West All Star Rugby 15s Team. In 2012, played on the USA West All Star Rugby 7s Team and USA Women’s National Rugby 7s Team
In 2014, Deanna was on the USA Olympic Handball Team. She played against Puerto Rico March 2014.
In 2016, she played Profession GRID League as a Strength Specialist for Miami Surge, matches were aired on NBC Sports. In 2017, Deanna became New Mexico State Record Holder for 90kg weight class in Olympic. She placed 9th in the country for the 90kg weight class at Weightlifting Nationals in 2017.
Deanna has been Physical Education Teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools since 2011.
Steve Famiglietta was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1966 and moved to Rio Rancho, NM when he was 10. Immediately Steve got involved with youth soccer. Graduating from Cibola High School in 1984, Steve was a High School All American. Steve played for UNM and was offered a pro contract in Europe. Shortly before leaving for Europe Steve was involved in a car accident which left him unable to play. He rehabilitated and went on to play professionally for the Colorado Comets, the Albuquerque Gunners, the Amarillo Challengers and the NM Chilis which were all teams in the USL. Steve was two-time USL Defensive Player of the Year, and a three time US All-Star even touring the former Soviet Union as part of the USL All Star Team.
Famiglietta who is also known as “Fami” in the local soccer community was inducted in the USL Hall of Fame in 2006 as a President’s Selection. The city of Rio Rancho recognized Steve after his USL induction with an award in 2007.
He acted as a player/coach for the NM Banditos and has coached kids almost as long as he has played. Steve has been the technical director for the Albuquerque United Football Club (AUFC), where he has been for the last 5 years. He was named in 2018 as the new head coach for the New Mexico Runners.
He also spends time scouting for US Soccer. He was also inducted into the Cibola High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Willie Goldsmith Sr. was the driving force in football and track in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the Albuquerque. He coached football, basketball and track at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels for forty-four years winning championships in football, basketball and track. Willie was one of the 8 founders Albuquerque Young America Football League in 1966. He was the first black Head Football Coach in Albuquerque, coaching the Valley Viking in 1977.He sponsored the first and only Boys AAU Track and Field Championship ever in the State of New Mexico in 1977.
He coached the Mighty Supremes Boys Track team that won Albuquerque’s only AAU Boys or Girls National Championship 1977. The 9-Under,10-11,and 12-13 went undefeated three straight years(75-77). This group of young men were the most dominating Team in the history of AAU Track and Field – Boys or Girls.
He was the recipient of the “Service to Mankind Award” by the Sertoma Club of Albuquerque for Unselfish Devotion to the Service of Others in 1977. He was the first Head Football Coach to represent Albuquerque a game in another Country (Chihuahua,Mexico-1978).The Mayor presented him with Honorary Plaque during the half time.
Willie was a standout four-year starter and undoubtedly one of the most versatile players ever at Roosevelt High School Devils Football team, and. Goldsmith, Sr. was named All Conference and All-State as a wide receiver and was a member of the 1959 District Championship team and the 1960 State Championship team. He attended Arkansas A.M. & N College (presently known as University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff) where he played quarterback, defensive back and became a First Team Academic All American.
He was the first African-American head coach of a team to win a 6-A Florida high school state football championship, leading the Miami Northwestern High School “Bulls” in 1995. In 1996, the National Football League honored Goldsmith as one of the top five best high school coaches in the United States. Many of his former players went on to careers in the NFL
In 2012, he was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was inducted in the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Hall of Fame. He was the prime mover in establishing a Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame.
Keith Leupold has been the head volleyball coach at Las Cruces High School for the last 34 years. Keith was one of seven coaches across the nation to be named as a finalist for national coach of the year for volleyball by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Under Leupold, has consistently ranked as one of the top volleyball programs in New Mexico. He has led the Bulldawgs to five state championships (2001, 2000, 1998, 1997 and 1995) and has finished runner-up in state at Las Cruces twice (2016 and 2006). Leupold was also nominated for national coach of the year in 1998.
Keith’s greatest pride in is the fact that the Bulldawgs have qualified for the state tournament 28 years in a row, which is the only high school in the state in volleyball who can claim this record streak. Leupold led Las Cruces to a Class 6A state quarterfinal appearance last season and a 15-9 overall record.
Michael Lujan has been a staple for the last three decades, in the wrestling community in the state of New Mexico’. His coaching career, however has made the greatest impact on the sport of wrestling.Lujan’s determination and perseverance led him to becoming one of the greatest high school wrestling coaches the state of New Mexico has ever seen.
An educator for 39 years in the Santa Fe Area, Lujan coached track and field, football, and wrestling. from 1975-2002. He became the head coach in 1981 and would lead the Santa Fe High School Demons’ wrestling program to great success for the next 19 years. He coached several wrestlers that combined for 28 individual state championships over the years, including 11 All-Americans in college, most notably an NCAA Division II National Champion in Jason Tapia. In all, Lujan coached 10 AAU national champions during his time with the Santa Fe High Junior Wrestling program.
Lujan’s love for wrestling started at an early age. He began his wrestling career in 1960 for the YMCA in Albuquerque under the direction of Mr. Jack O’Neil. He then went to wrestle at Ernie Pyle Junior High from 1964-65. Lujan attended Rio Grande High School from 1966-1970 and was a member of the Ravens’ wrestling squad. He placed third in the New Mexico State Championships in 1969 and 1970.
Lujan wrestled in college at Trinidad state Junior college from 1970-71 before the program was dropped during the 1971-72 season. He earned his Associates Degree from Trinidad State Junior College and his B.A. in Education and Psychology from Southern Colorado State College. in June 1972, Lujan was a National Olympic Trial qualifier in Anoka, Minnesota. He continued to wrestle Freestyle through 1977.
Lujan was also the founder and CEO of the Santa Fe Junior Wrestling Program, running the program for 35 years. He was also an assistant coach for the USA Wrestling New Mexico National Team in the mid 1980’s, guiding kids at regional and national events for many years.
He was instrumental as a legislative lobbyist from 2007 to present raising funds to start an NCAA Division II wrestling Program at the New Mexico Highlands University. He continues to be part of the program to this day.
Over the years, Lujan has earned several local, regional and National Awards, including being listed in America’s Who’s Who of High School Wrestling 1988. He was the recipient of the Franklin Select Coaching Circle award and the Scholastic Coach Magazine Award in 1989, Lujan received the National Jefferson Award, presented by the Pentagon to seven selected coaches worldwide and also received the USA Today Weekend Most Caring Coach Award.
In 2001, he was honored by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association as Wrestling Coach of the Year and the AAU Wrestling Man of the Year. That same year. Lujan was the AAU Grand Nationals tournament Director. He continues to support AAU activities in his State, serving as the New Mexico District’s AAU Wrestling Sports Director since 2007.
Lujan earned the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame “Promotion of the Year” Award and the Albuquerque Convention and Bureau Ambassador Award in 2002. In 2003, the Santa Fe Board of Education presented him with the Silver Zia Award.
Lujan was honored again by the Santa Fe Public Schools and the Board of Education in 2004, naming the Santa Fe High School Wrestling room the “Mike A. Lujan Wrestling Room.” He was also given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Santa Fe Junior Wrestling Program. Mike conducted the Lujan Summer Wrestling Camp for youth of all ages for the past 34 years.
He was inducted into the New Mexico Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006 and the AAU National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007. He was honored with the Dan Gable American Needs Wresting Award N.W.C.A in 2007.
year in 1998.
Keith’s greatest pride in is the fact that the Bulldawgs have qualified for the state tournament 28 years in a row, which is the only high school in the state in volleyball who can claim this record streak. Leupold led Las Cruces to a Class 6A state quarterfinal appearance last season and a 15-9 overall record.
Jeff Siembieda moved to New Mexico in 1996 he has been reporting on, coaching and promoting New Mexico’s sports and athletic events. He is currently the Executive Director of the New Mexico Bowl and he also co-hosts the Opening Drive each morning on KNML.
He started on KOAT-TV as its Weekend Sports Anchor in 1996 and was later promoted to the channel’s Sports Director. He hosted “The Big Show” on 1310-The Ticket Radio Channel from 2005 to 2007 and currently hosts a morning sports talk radio show on KNML’s, “the Opening Drive” where he just celebrated his 10 year anniversary.
In 2001, Jeff became VP of Media and Entertainment for the New Mexico Scorpions Hockey Team.
In 2005, he was appointed as Deputy Director for the newly created New Mexico Sports Authority where he worked with the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau, the University of New Mexico and ESPN to establish the New Mexico Bowl. He has been the Executive Director of the New Mexico Bowl for ESPN Events since 2006.
In 2016 he was recognized by The Legislature of the State of New Mexico for his efforts to promote New Mexico athletics and the national visibility of New Mexico as a venue for sports.
He was also a basketball coach at Madison middle school in Albuquerque and Summer Coach for New Mexico’s Amateur Athletic Union Boys under fourteen and under fifteen basketball teams from 2001 to 2005. He currently volunteers with his daughters Lacrosse team, the Duke City Bears, by keeping stats, score or or running drills at practice.
He has excelled at play-by-play for New Mexico State and the University of New Mexico, The Coleman Classic and high school football games, most recently he covered for Josh Souchon for Isotopes Baseball.
Jeff has received awards from the New Mexico Sportscasters Association for his work on his radio show and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association two years in row.