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

Portales fills trio of coaching vacancies

 


PORTALES — It’s been a busy spring for Portales Athletic Director Mark Gallegos and company, as a number of varsity head coaching vacancies needed to be filled. However, the Rams were able to fill just about all of those vacancies recently, which includes boys soccer, cross country and track.

Former boys soccer coach Nathan Dodge and former track and field coach Chris Bachicha recently resigned from their posts, after accepting assistant principal positions at the high school. Taking their place is Johnny Gutierrez (boys soccer) and Quintin Wilson (track). Meanwhile, Michael Annun will be tasked with leading the newly formed cross country program at the school.

Outside of Gutierrez, all of the other hirings are teachers. Portales tends to prefer going with teachers as head coaches, as opposed to contract coaches who otherwise don’t work in the district.

“It’s up to the district and we have to advertise the position as a teaching/coaching job. We want kids and teachers to interact and have contact throughout the day,” Gallegos explained. “At the end of the day, academics is the ultimate goal.”

Gutierrez is the city soccer coordinator for Portales’ soccer development program and will continue in that capacity going forward. He was also a soccer referee last season. Wilson, on the other hand, will leave his post as Lovington track and field coach to come over to Portales.

Besides coaching track and field, he’ll also be an assistant football coach under Jaime Ramirez. According to Gallegos, Wilson brings more than 30 years of coaching experience and was on the Hobbs assistant staff with Ramirez. Wilson will also teach science at the high school.

Annun will lead the cross country program in its inaugural season, and he’ll be joined by Alex Lopez as his assistant.

Volleyball, meanwhile, will now have a new junior varsity coach in Brooklyn Biel, who recently played volleyball at Eastern New Mexico from 2014-17.

“We ultimately like them to be educators, but you still have to have a New Mexico coaching license,” Gallegos said of the coach hirings. “The process has really changed in my 30 years, because back when I first got into coaching, you had to be a teacher to get one of these jobs.”

For now, the only varsity vacancy that stands is the cheerleading position, after Jennifer Kandel’s recent resignation. As for Dodge, who also coaches softball, it is still undecided as to whether he’ll return to that position next spring.

 

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