Serving the High Plains

Tucumcari loses baseball coach

Tucumcari baseball coach Dwayne Roberts is leaving to take a position at his high school alma mater as coach of Logan's eight-man football program.

Meanwhile, San Jon/Grady retained its six-man football coach, Tucumcari alum Adrian Jones, after advertising an opening for the position several weeks ago.

Roberts, who accepted the offer from Logan in mid-April, said he also would serve as an assistant coach there in baseball and boys basketball with head coach Kyle Griffiths. Roberts also was an assistant coach at Logan for several sports for two years before taking the head-coaching position for the Tucumcari baseball program three seasons ago.

Roberts said being back in his hometown was the motivating factor in taking the Logan gridiron position.

"That's home," he said. "That's where I grew up. I graduated there, my boys graduated there, and so it's like close to home. I'm going to get to coach a lot of family; they're still in school."

Roberts also said working in Logan halves his commute. He lives in eastern Quay County, about a 45-minute drive from Tucumcari. Logan would be only 20 minutes away, he said.

Roberts takes the helm of a Longhorns team that went 5-7 last year and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Mountainair 60-12. Coach Chase Disney resigned weeks later to take another job in his native Oklahoma.

This fall, Logan will feature several speedsters, including Jantzen Paris, who recently won two state titles in sprint events at the Class 1A state track meet.

"We're going to be very, very fast," Roberts said. "We just don't have a lot of big kids. But as far as anyone outrunning us in the state, it's not gonna happen."

The Rattlers baseball team went 18-45 during Roberts' three seasons, and earned a berth in the state quarterfinals in 2018. A host of problems befell Tucumcari during its recent 1-21 season, but Roberts made it clear that's not why he's leaving.

"I love my job here, and I love the kids," he said. "I'm not leaving here unhappy. This is not a disgruntled employee trying to get out. The ties to Logan were the deciding factor."

Roberts said he's optimistic the Rattlers baseball team will have a strong bounce-back season in 2020.

"There's a lot of young guys coming up," he said. "There are a lot of good seasons coming. Whoever's coming in (to coach) is going to have a lot of talent."

In San Jon, Jones will be back for a second season this fall to coach the Coyotes' six-man football squad. San Jon, which has a cooperative agreement with Grady, finished 4-5 last season, losing 72-36 to Springer/Maxwell in the state quarterfinals.

Jones said San Jon school officials confirmed with him during an interview Wednesday morning he would be retained. The school district in March advertised for applications to fill a coaching vacancy on the football team, though Jones had not resigned or been fired.

"Coaches are hired/rehired on a yearly basis," San Jon Superintendent Janet Gladu stated in an email Wednesday evening.

"I'm just figuring it was a whole new process with a new superintendent and athletic director," Jones said. "Whatever it was, I'm just glad I'm back there."

Jones acknowledged his first season with the Coyotes had its "ups and downs," and he was "learning from it."

"I'm appreciative of what happened last year, and it's going to help me stay humble so I can keep working hard for it," he said.

The Coyotes boast a solid corps of returning skill players with Dustin Bryant, Chad Becerra and District 1 Player of the Year Chisum Rush.

"We've got a great team coming back with those guys," Jones said.

Jones played wide receiver and defensive back for a Tucumcari High School football team that won the state title in 2002 and finished runner-up in 2006.