Friday, August 13, 2010

Marquez Named Magdalena Football Coach

By John Severance

MAGDALENA -- Magdalena has finally named a new football coach, and he is a familiar face to most all Socorro County sports fans.
Manny Marquez, who has coached Little League football in Socorro for years, accepted the position Wednesday after meeting with Magdalena athletic director Sam Olney and superintendent Mike Chambers.
Marquez was scheduled to visit with the kids Wednesday afternoon and have his first full-scale workout with the Steers on Thursday at the school.
“I worked with kids for 25 years or more in the Little League in Socorro,” Marquez said minutes after accepting the job. “I am very excited. And I feel I can teach the kids fundamentals.”
Olney thinks it’s a great fit.
“He wants to do it,” Olney said. “He has the experience and everybody knows him. He knows football and he is good with the kids. We are very excited to have Manny on board.”
Marquez, who had teamed with George Funkhouser for years in calling Socorro games on the radio, said he started thinking about coaching in Magdalena only recently.
“I read about it in the newspaper,” Marquez said. “I am going to do the best I can for Magdalena and maybe we can win a couple of games.”
Chambers said 22 players have signed up for football and they have another 20 in the middle school program.
“I know that was a problem in that people were talking about we didn’t have enough kids,” Chambers said. “That’s not going to be a problem. And I am very happy to have Manny as a coach.”
Marquez says he knows there is a lot of work ahead. All the other teams around the state began practice officially on Aug. 9.
“We are behind so I am going to get in as many practices as possible,” Marquez said. “I am going to keep it simple and teach the kids fundamentals.”
As far as assistants, Marquez, who resigned from the Socorro Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees a couple of months ago, said last year’s assistant Monty Bain will help out, but he also will be looking for others to help.
“I need people to help win some games,” Marquez said.
The Steers had been looking for a coach for close to six months after Dave Marquez left for Belen.
Magdalena had trouble finding a coach because the school had just two openings for teachers in special education and language arts, Chambers said.
“Neither of those are ones that would have lent to be coaches,” Chambers said. “Usually, they teach physical education or something like that.”
Olney and Chambers attended a coaches clinic in Albuquerque recently and they found out other schools are having trouble filling vacancies as well.
“Even larger school districts were still looking for coaches,” Chambers said. “I don’t know if they were looking for head coaches but a lot of them were looking for assistants.
“It’s really a combination of things. The economic situation has cut back in a lot of areas and there is the changing landscape of athletics. There are not a lot of people out there who want little pay and big headaches. It takes a certain individual.”
Magdalena also recently moved up to 2A and 11-man football. The Steers had been competing in Single-A, 8-man football.
Chambers said the school made the jump for a number of reasons.
“Basically, we did it for the other sports but we also had the numbers for football,” Chambers said. “There just were not that many eight-man teams still playing and in the next year or two, there probably will be even fewer teams. From that perspective, we decided to bite the bullet and make the move.”
Chambers then was asked if there was any talk of dropping football this year.
“There was serious talk from a standpoint of not wanting to put the school or the district in an uncomfortable situation,” Chambers said. “But we were not pursuing that avenue. We had worked hard to get the program back. If you cut the sport for a year, it is so hard to get it back. That was absolutely the last resort for me if we could not find anybody.”

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