Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Former Tucumcari coach to be in hall of fame

 

December 15, 2021



The New Mexico Activities Association announced a former Tucumcari educator and coach will be among three individuals inducted next spring into the NMAA Hall of Fame.

Another educator with House ties also will be inducted.

Larry Chavez taught social studies and physical education and coached junior high football, basketball and boys track and high-school boys track at Tucumcari from 1984 to 1992 during a 38-year career in education that included stints in Santa Rosa and, most recently, Rio Rancho.

He will be inducted during the NMAA Hall of Fame ceremony at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Albuquerque during the state basketball championships in March.

The other inductees will be Gary Schuster of Gallup-McKinley County Schools and Wingate High School and Jamie Widner of Melrose, House, Corona and Roswell schools.

Chavez is a native of Las Vegas, New Mexico, and graduated from Robertson High School there, where he participated in basketball, cross country and track and field. He attended Eastern New Mexico University and received his bachelor’s degree in 1982 and his master’s in 1987.

Chavez began his career in education in 1982 in Santa Rosa as a middle school and high school PE teacher while being cross country and track and field coach and assistant basketball coach for the Lions. He returned to Santa Rosa in 1992 as athletic director while coaching cross country, baseball, basketball and track.

In 1997, he moved to Rio Rancho, where he served for 23 years as a teacher, coach, athletic director and district athletic director.

During his time at Rio Rancho High School, Cleveland High School and the Rio Rancho Public Schools District Office, Chavez twice earned the New Mexico Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Coach of the Year, New Mexico High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year for Track & Field in 2008-09, NMHSCA Region 8 Coach of the Year in 2009 and was a finalist for the NHSACA Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2010.

Chavez was inducted into the New Mexico Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Rio Rancho High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.

Chavez guided Cleveland High School to NMAA Director’s Cup championships in 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 and to top-three finishes four times.

He served as the meet director for the State Cross Country Championships from 2006 to 2009 and was instrumental in bringing the first NMAA championship event to Rio Rancho.

Chavez and his wife of over 40 years, Rose, have four children, Larry, Orlando, Hilaree and Lawrence, and seven grandchildren.

Widner, born in Clovis, graduated from Melrose High School in 1979, where in participated in football, basketball and track. He attended New Mexico State University and earned bachelor’s degrees in 1983 and 1985, then earned a master’s degree in 1993 from Eastern New Mexico University.

Widner served as superintendent of House schools from 1995 to 1997 between teaching and coaching stints at Corona, Roswell and Melrose.

Widner returned to Melrose in 1997 and became the high school principal for 13 years before being named superintendent in 2010. During his time there, Widner helped guide the Buffaloes baseball and football teams while leading the entire athletic program to state championships and NMAA Director’s Cups.

Widner and his wife of over 36 years, Robin, have four children, Lauren, Lainey, Lance, and Landry, and seven grandchildren.

 
 

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