Former Rattler coach heads to NMAA

David Wagner

A former Tucumcari coach, Mario Martinez recently accepted a position as assistant director of men’s athletics for the New Mexico Activities Association.

The NMAA is expected to formally approve the hiring Wednesday. The 49-year-old Martinez has spent more than 27 years coaching in New Mexico high schools, the last 12 at Fort Sumner where his teams have captured five state championships each in football and track.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate, but there’s a time to step away.”

Martinez coached six years at his high school alma mater, Springer, and besides Tucumcari, has also spent time at Moriarty, Pojoaque and Carlsbad. “I’m certainly not leaving because of any reason other than I have a real good opportunity (with the NMAA),” Martinez said. “I knew there would come a time when I needed a new challenge. Even if I hadn’t gotten the NMAA job, I probably would be looking at doing something else.”

Although his NMAA duties don’t officially begin until Aug. 1, Martinez and his wife are busy moving to the Albuquerque area and he figures he’ll get a head start on things.
“There’s a lot to do between now and then,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll be in (the NMAA offices) a lot in the next couple of months. “I will pretty much be directly responsible for overseeing all the boys district, regional and state tournaments. I’ll be dealing with eligibility, and the financial end of the NMAA.”