The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Board debates Roanhaus honor


August 23, 2017

File photo

Eric Roanhaus, with his grandson Sebastian Roanhaus, resigned in December after 39 years as Clovis High's head football coach. The school board on Tuesday discussed naming the Wildcats' fieldhouse in his honor.

CLOVIS — A proposal to name the Clovis High School fieldhouse after Eric Roanhaus was tabled Wednesday evening, following some public opposition claiming the action did not sufficiently honor the former football coach.

Superintendent Jody Balch brought the consideration to the school board as an action item, saying he considered it "quite an honor" for Roanhaus, who resigned as head football coach last season after 44 years with CHS.

Roanhaus' son Chad Roanhaus asked the board to table the item and said during the meeting's open forum period that he considered the proposal "kind of a slap in the face for lack of a better word."

Another CHS graduate, Joe Abelar, recommended the board consider alternative ways to honor Roanhaus, to include having him share billing with Leon Williams on the school's stadium.

"I do think it would be a disservice not to consider (the alternatives)," he said. "For those of us who didn't have dads he was our dad."

"By no means do we want to tarnish or slap him in the face," said Board Vice President Terry Martin.

"What's the most appropriate? I have no idea. But do we need to honor him? Yes we do."

Balch said he considered both the football field and the fieldhouse as naming options, but chose the latter due to dramatic differences in estimated costs.

"The objective is to honor the man, not anything materialistic," he said.

To place lettering on even just one side of the field could cost up to $25,000 in maintenance every six to 10 years, he said, whereas the fieldhouse sign could be just $500 to $1,000 with some promised support from a local business.

Balch also noted his surprise at the opposition Wednesday, stating that "not one person in the community" had come to him proposing any such way to honor Roanhaus in the eight months since his resignation.

Outgoing Board Secretary Justin Howalt said he was aware of "a lot of chatter" among CHS football alumni "about how to honor (Roanhaus) appropriately."

"I do believe that for the accomplishments he's had over the years, his loyalty and commitment to Clovis and the football program ... something more prominent is appropriate," he said. "He is the winningest coach in New Mexico football."

With the exception of board member Kyle Snider, who was not present Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to table the consideration for the next meeting.

Abelar and Chad Roanhaus said they would return with several alternative proposals to the fieldhouse naming and would seek community fundraising support to assist the effort.

Eric Roanhaus said Wednesday afternoon he had no comment on the matter.

Also at the board meeting:

• Howalt announced his resignation from the board effective today, stating in a letter that given his incoming responsibilities as Clovis city manager in October, "I feel that the interests of the Clovis Municipal Schools, the City of Clovis, and myself are best served if I step down from my elected position."

Board President Paul Cordova said the board would have 45 days to fill Howalt's vacancy and would advertise publicly to fill the position.

• The board unanimously approved a travel request from CHS FFA for nine students and two sponsors to attend the Oct. 23-29 National FFA Parliamentary Procedure Contest and Convention.


Reader Comments

Matthew Lansford writes:

I wouldn't name anything after him he's a jerk. Just saying what most are thinking.


Name the stadium after Roanhaus. Not many people in Clovis have any idea who Leon Williams was.


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