C.J. Aragon, who led the Mesalands Community College rodeo teams to national prominence, has resigned to take over the head coaching position for the Odessa College Wranglers in Odessa, Texas.
Aragon, 38, said he tendered his resignation as Mesalands Community College’s intercollegiate rodeo coach last week after accepting the offer to head the rodeo team at Odessa.
He called this move a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“I am thankful for all of support from I received while at Mesalands,” Aragon said. “It has been a great ride for the past six years.”
Before Aragon took over the reigns of the rodeo program in 2007, Mesalands was ranked 117th in the nation and had sent only one competitor to the CNFR.
“Currently, we are looking for an interim rodeo coach to fill this vacant position while we do a national search for a permanent rodeo coach for Mesalands,” said Dr. Aaron Kennedy, one of the co-directors of the college until its new president, Thomas Newsom, assumes his duties on Aug. 1.
Aragon said he has enjoyed tremendous support from the college and community in making Mesalands the great rodeo program it is today.
Aragon’s success has included a No. 1 national ranked women’s team for Mesalands and qualifying to compete as a team five times at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.
Under Aragon’s leadership, the Mesalands women’s team finished 11th in the nation at the 2013 CNFR with 165 points. Macy Fuller of Wittman, Ariz., finished fourth in the Women’s All-Around. The Mesalands men’s team ended the year 24th in the nation with 170 points.
Aragon was also named the coach of the year four times in the Grand Canyon Region and earned the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year honors in 2010.
Aragon said it was his success at Mesalands that led to Odessa College tapping him to fill the position of head rodeo coach. That position had been vacant since June 20 when former coach Kelly Doster resigned.
“They made it very clear to me that I was their guy,” Aragon said. “They rolled out the red carpet for me when I went down to visit them about the job.”
Aragon said was not going to make any decision until he returned from visiting the college. He said after his tour of the college and meetings with OC’s Athletic Director Wayne Baker, he called his wife and told her “this is where I need to be.”
Kennedy said Mesalands College “would like to thank Coach Aragon for the excellent job he has done for the College and the Mesalands Rodeo Team. We wish him well in all his future endeavors.”
Aragon said Odessa’s college rodeo program is one of the top five elite programs in the nations. He said being offered the coaching position at Odessa is comparable to National Football League coach being offered the coaching position of a powerhouse team.
“It is such a great honor to be asked to take over such a storied program,” Aragon said.
Aragon said Odessa College’s rodeo program has the resources and strengths already in place in their program that will allow him to compete for a national championship every year as a team and in individual events.
The Wranglers finished 15th overall at the 2013 CNFR and had two bull riders finish in the top 10.