SFPS taps former Rio Rancho administrator as athletic and activities director

Hilario “Larry” Chavez Jr.

Santa Fe Public Schools on Friday hired an administrator from Rio Rancho to oversee both athletics and school activities such as drama, debate and ROTC programs.

Hilario “Larry” Chavez Jr., will be paid $80,000 in the newly configured position. His hiring fills a job that had been open since July and entailed a false start when a district employee accepted the position, only to decline it days later.

Chavez, 40, said he plans to start work for the district in three to four weeks.

“I think there’s a lot of great talent there in Santa Fe,” he said. “The coaches, the students and the facilities are very good. It’s a place that, if we as leaders set the pace, communicate well, set high expectations and provide leadership, we can grow the programs there and help them reach new levels.”

Among his priorities, he said, is to build relationships with administrators, teachers, coaches and students.

Born in Las Vegas, N.M., Chavez participated in sports during his boyhood. He said he was inspired by his father, Hilario “Larry” Chavez Sr., who worked as a coach in Las Vegas and is now the athletic coordinator for V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho.

“I grew up around the gym, and my dad was always the coach,” Chavez said. “I grew up enjoying athletics as a whole.”

At Santa Rosa High School, he lettered four years in basketball and cross-country and three years in baseball and track.

He was head cross-country and track coach for girls at Rio Rancho High School some 10 years ago and led that team to a class 5A championship in 2008. He later worked as co-director of the state’s Cross Country Championships.

He received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in special education from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas. He said he just completed a licensure program for educational leadership at that college as well.

Chavez, who is married and has two children, works for the New Mexico Department of Health as director of education and principal of the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center in Albuquerque.

The Santa Fe district initially hired Santa Fe High School associate principal Mark Mutz, 42, as athletic and activities director. Mutz later declined the job, saying he had anticipated a higher salary offer. Mutz still works as an associate principal for the district.

Contact Robert Nott at 505-986-3021 or rnott@sfnewmexican.com.