Sanchez hired as Dons’ basketball coach

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Clyde Sanchez, a veteran of the northern New Mexico coaching ranks with ties to West Las Vegas, has been hired as the Dons’ new head basketball coach.

Sanchez’s hiring was confirmed on Tuesday evening.

Sanchez is a former assistant at West and at Santa Fe Prep, and he is a former head coach at Pecos and Prep.

“We look forward to working with Clyde and all that he brings to West Las Vegas,” said Richard Tripp, WLV athletic coordinator. “He has a great reputation as a head coach and as a person.”

Sanchez replaces David Bustos, who’d led the Dons to back-to-back state runner-up finishes — both against juggernaut Hope Christian — in 2015 and 2016. The team finished 19-9 this past winter, ranked fourth in the MaxPreps poll of Class 4A boys’ basketball. West lost to crosstown rival Robertson in the state quarterfinals.

School officials have not disclosed reasons for Bustos not being retained.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Sanchez has succeeded Bustos in a head coaching position. In 2008, he was hired to take over at Pecos when Bustos was hired to coach at Robertson.

As both an assistant and a head coach, Sanchez guided the Panthers to the state tournament. In 2012, he led Pecos to a 22-8 record and a spot in the state quarterfinals, losing to eventual champion Tularosa. His record after four years in charge at Pecos was 65-53.

Overall, Sanchez has coached for more than three decades and got his start with the West district. He is a native of San Juan.

Sanchez has served as a coach at various levels in the WLV district. He was then-head coach Ernie Rodriguez’s assistant in 2012-13 before going on to help Dennis Casados at Santa Fe Prep. The partnership yielded back-to-back seasons with 20-plus wins. Sanchez inherited the head job with the Blue Griffins in 2015, compiling an 18-37 mark over two seasons.

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West Las Vegas continues to search for a head volleyball coach. That vacancy remained advertised on the school district website as of Thursday.

Whoever ends up filling the position will take over for Elizabeth Ulibarri, who served just one season at the helm of the Lady Don program and went 8-14 with a young group of players.

The program has had five head coaches in the past four seasons.