Three major Meadow City head coaching positions — two at Robertson and one at West Las Vegas — recently opened up for applicants, school officials confirmed this week.
West Las Vegas plans to advertise its varsity boys’ basketball post after opting not to renew head coach Ernie Rodriguez’s contract, WLVS Superintendent Gene Parson said Wednesday.
“We’re going to open the position,” Parson said. “At this time, we’re choosing to go in a different direction.”
Parson declined to elaborate as to why the job is being opened.
Rodriguez, who has been with West for two years, also teaches history and coaches the high school’s tennis program. Parson said he was “not at liberty to discuss the teaching position,” because that contract is a separate and distinct matter. He also said that the tennis job, as with other spring sports positions, would be decided upon in late fall after recommendations had been made by athletic director Jose Medina.
Contacted Wednesday, Rodriguez said he had planned to step down prior to hearing the job would be opened. He said he had made the decision last Thursday and met with his players on Monday to tell them of his departure.
Across town, two other programs will be seeking head coaches as well.
Robertson athletic director Juan Carlos Fulgenzi said the RHS girls’ varsity basketball job and the RHS boys’ and girls’ golf post are vacant, both due to coaches’ decisions.
Lady Cardinal basketball coach Rick Armijo opted to step down from the post he’s held for two seasons, and golf coach Gene Gurule is also resigning his coaching duties, Fulgenzi said Wednesday.
All three coaches have experienced some degree of success within their programs.
Armijo led the Lady Cards to a District 2-3A championship in 2011-12 and earned trips to the state tournament both seasons.
Gurule has had several golfers qualify for the state tournament since taking the helm several yers ago. This spring, Grant Gregory won a boys’ individual district title and earned a trip to state.
Rodriguez’s Dons saw gradual progress during a couple of building seasons. West returned to the state tournament this past winter, losing in the first round to Portales 62-51. The Dons went 9-19 overall and 3-5 in District 2-3A.
The superintendent stopped short of calling the Dons vacancy a termination.
“We have no particular individual in mind at this time (for the WLV boys’ basketball job),” Parson said. “We will be advertising it. Mr. Rodriguez is more than afforded the opportunity to reapply.”
But Rodriguez indicated he would be leaving the district.
“I had applied for the Capital job, wanting to get closer to home,” he said. “I had been thinking a lot about not returning.”
Rodriguez, who lives in Santa Fe, has his family, including a young child, there.
He said, however, that he was surprised to learn the position would be opened. “All the communication (from the administration) had been positive, that I had been doing a good job and we had been making progress,” he said. “There was never any meetings or conversation or indication that this was going to happen.”
In his meeting with players on Monday, Rodriguez said he expressed gratitude: “I let them know I was absolutely proud of the improvement they had made. I thanked them for being coachable. If they continue the progress, doing what they’ve been doing, they will achieve their goals they’ve set.”
Rodriguez said he doesn’t feel he’s leaving on bad terms and wishes the Dons program well.
“There were so many tremendous people in Las Vegas that welcomed me,” he said. “I enjoyed my time at West Las Vegas.”
As for what’s next, Rodriguez said he’s not sure but “my Creator has provided for us and he will continue to do so.”
Gurule said he’s leaving the golf program in good condition.
“I just feel it is time for someone to take over the program that I have had to rebuild on the boys and girls side,” he said. “Currently I have a full girls’ squad of six, which I am proud of because it is very difficult to get young women to play that particular sport. I also have a full boys’ team ... both should compete for the district title next year.”
Gurule endorsed assistant coach and former player Jamie Allen as a possible successor: “She is very knowledgeable when it comes to the needs of the players and the personal experience competing at the district and state level.”
The Optic did not reach Armijo for comment late Wednesday.
Fulgenzi said the Lady Cardinal basketball opening has begun advertising, and the golf job will begin advertising on Monday.