Serving the High Plains

Santa Rosa coach makes his return

SANTA ROSA — After a four-year hiatus as head basketball coach at Santa Rosa High School, “Coach Eska” is back.

Joe Esquibel soon will be trading in his job as principal of the middle school for head coach of Lions basketball — a job he lost four years ago despite a public outcry to keep him in the position.

Superintendent Martin Madrid said Esquibel will remain athletic director but will have to give up his position as principal.

Madrid said last week he chose Esquibel over two other candidates.

He cited Esquibel’s passion for the sport as a big reason for his decision.

“He’s passionate about sports,” Madrid said. “He’s so passionate about basketball that he’s willing to step down from principal.”

In Esquibel’s last stint as the boys’ basketball coach, “there were a lot of students involved in basketball; I think we had 40 or more kids,” Madrid continued. “He’s good at recruiting, and he’s good with the kids.”

As for Esquibel, he said he’s grateful for the chance to return to a job, and a sport, he loves dearly.

In his last season as Santa Rosa’s boys basketball coach in 2015-2016, Esquibel sported a 21-9 record and lost to Pecos in the Class 3A state championship.

Esquibel compiled a 90-55 record in five seasons at Santa Rosa.

Also selected for the upcoming basketball season is middle school teacher and assistant volleyball coach Abby Campbell, as the new head basketball coach for the Lady Lions at the high school. She’s been two years in the Santa Rosa Consolidated Schools district.

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