The history books will inexorably link coach Bill Moon and the Capital football program for their success together.

Moon’s second chapter at the school ended Thursday when the 71-year-old submitted his letter of resignation, confirmed Santa Fe Public Schools Associate Superintendent Larry Chavez. Moon spent the past nine years piloting the program, producing a 36-50-1 record with three district titles and just as many state playoff appearances. Capital was also where he spent 18 of his 26 years as a head coach, having started the program when the school opened in 1988 and leading it to a 55-41 mark and three district titles before resigning in 1996.

Overall, Moon has a 114-164-1 record in 26 seasons. All seven of his playoff appearances came at Capital.

The Jaguars went 2-2 in the shortened 2020 season played this spring due to the pandemic. Chavez said while Capital experienced plenty of success, Moon did more than that.

“He did a great job of advocating for his program and the student athletes, not only his own but for the entire school,” Chavez said. “I want to thank him for everything he’s done.”

Moon did not return phone messages left by The New Mexican.

When the Capital head coaching position opened in 2012 after consecutive 1-9 seasons, Moon returned. His introductory meeting with prospective players that summer produced just 16 attendees. In August 2013, Moon said it was in worse shape than his first stint— and there was nothing.

“We were two weeks away from this program not existing,” Moon said. “There were no coaches here. We had feral children.”

After consecutive 1-9 seasons, the Jaguars broke through with a 5-5 record and went 29-27-1 over the next six seasons. Capital celebrated its first district title in eight years in 2015 and came within an eyelash of winning its first playoff game in as many years before losing a heartbreaker, 27-26, to Roswell Goddard in the first round of the 5A playoffs.

The Jaguars won district titles in 2017 and 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic threw the 2020 season into chaos. With a team of mostly seniors that Moon believed could contend for a Class 5A title, Capital went 2-2 when the condensed season began in March. In Moon’s final game with the program, Capital rallied from a 27-20 deficit in the fourth quarter but lost to Piedra Vista 30-28 on a field goal in the final minutes.

Chavez said the district posted the coaching position for applications Thursday and he would like to have a hire by the end of June, if not sooner.

“We have summer conditioning coming around the corner and we want to make sure we don’t drop the ball on that,” Chavez said.

When the school opened in 1988, Moon was selected to build the program from scratch. It took him three years before Capital reached the playoffs, and the Jaguars made it three more times over the next six years. Moon left to build the program at Rio Rancho High School.

After three years at Rio Rancho and four years at Santa Fe High, Moon spent four years working as an attorney before coaching at Española Valley in 2008 and 2009.

(6) comments

Barry Larkin

As someone who played and worked with Coach Moon I speak with first hand experience. We may have had our differences in philosophies but nothing but respect for Coach Moon.

First off, Shame on any adult that puts down a coach for giving their time. Coach Moon is turning young men into great adults. I thought that was the most important aspect, not the wins and losses. This isn't college. High school coaches make penny's for time spent, no where near enough to make a living and your going to judge him by his win/loss record. It seems some people have forgotten the actual purpose of high school sports. Shame on you!

Secondly, did everyone forget the program he took over? Almost no one wanted to coach there. The program was about to fold. Starting with 16 players he built that program up and gave Capital supporters something to cheer about and then when they didn't end the season with a win, gave them something to complain about. Head and shoulders above where they were. Be thankful and thank the man!

I will state my opinion because I am on the sidelines giving countless hours in practice, Watching film, learning the ins and the outs of the game when I could be spending my time with family. So if you don't like the way Moon did things then i challenge you to apply. Maybe coach at the youth level if u dont get hired. But If you are going to critique Coach Moon then I want to see how successful your playbook could be. How your practice plan, off season and weight training program will complement your playbook to get the most out of your players. Anyone can be an arm chair coach, yet few would have the success of a Coach Moon. So if you are going to say things could have been better, then show us. Don't tell us. Show us exactly how it could have been better.

I have always said Coach Moon is a great program builder maybe not a program sustainer. That doesn't make him a bad coach. That doesn't mean we should hold a parade now that he retired!

I do agree changes need to be made at Capital.. Ask the kids. They are disappointed in things told to them to go to capital that didn't come true. Certain alumni greats have been working with the other 2 high schools in town and even been helping espanola because they realized some of the true colors of those coaches who are there. It's alarming when a ex student would rather help the rival then the school they graduated from because of the coaches at Capital.. BUT this is NOT Moon. The changes need to start from the top if u want an entire culture change.

Moon made Capital great again! Thank the man! Be happy for the position he left the program and hope the next coach and build off the success he had there.

Best of luck Coach Moon!!!

RJ Sanchez

Mr. Larkin, I appreciate your appreciation for your Coach. That’s admirable and just. However, the truth and facts of matter is that a head coach for 26 years and one playoff win and a overall losing record is the measurable of success for a great program. And he never beat St. Michael’s or at least in the last 15 years.

He got paid and yes it’s peanuts, but it wasn’t for free. I have an appreciation for all coaches and their time and effort. It’s a job that’s unforgiving and unappreciated in many ways. In the end, you can’t make everyone happy. This is not about being an armchair coach, I played my days, coached, enjoyed my family’s success in sports and endured our failures. My family tree has played football at the next level, and we know plenty of families and players from Capital. And those families and players are great people and have an appreciation for Coach Moon. But, they all shake their head at the same old, same old, same old schemes.

That’s not the topic or reason for my post. It’s the fact that he was so stubborn to change with the times, he refused to adapt, he played favorites, often ridiculed players, cursed at the team in an unacceptable manner, was unreasonable with many, and never truly put the best foot forward with the talent he had on many occasions. Because it was his way or the highway! If the public could hear what this man would say to his team at times. The white privilege that kept him around for so long would have been over a long time ago. You just can’t curse at kids the way he did - at least not no more.

Thank you Coach for your time, your effort, for motivating kids to graduate, and for help making some really tuff kids. But, you should have stepped down a long time ago. The game has changed & times have changed. Excited for change. Change is good! Look at SFHS and Capital’s basketball program our kids can compete with the big boys. So let’s not get that confused. Capital’s baseball team is on the way up too!

He worked hard, he had a program, he was dedicated, but was on a mission to prove that his methods were methods could get to the promise land- a blue trophy 🏆. He had one playoff win in twenty six years - his methods/schemes didn’t work against teams or equal talent. Great coaches adapt, change, and mold their team to the talents they have. They just don’t do the same thing for 30 years and expect better results.

Barry Larkin

Glad you brought up basketball at those.. Notice how they are better at one sport and not so much at the kther? Looks like an issue in athlete sharing.... They don't do a lot of athlete sharing at those schools compared to St Michaels or the Rio Rancho schools....

Never beat St Michaels? I am sure it was his fault that the Guzman kid dropped the game winner in the back of the end zone a couple years ago. Besides what is the love affair and comparison to St. Michaels. They are a 3A school. Capital shouldn't be playing them. Yes they are "successful" but they also don't have to play against any public schools located in a major city in New Mexico. SMHS is in a big city and only has to play all small town schools. Sounds like watered down success if you ask me.... Capital doesn't have the leisure of playing just small town schools. Moon did however dominate SFHS. That doesn't count?

Careful what you wish for.... "change is good." Change is only good if the next coach is better. Slim pickens if u have to choose between a coach who has also been dominated by Robertson and Fernandez but runs a spread. Or maybe Another hard nosed disciplinary like Moon who happens to be teacher at the school... or maybe the assistant AD who really wants it but with no experience and low football IQ is probably the worst of the bunch. Moon would run circles around all those guys. So my question is, who is better that wants the job??! Who would u hire? Since you like SMHS, Maybe pay Coach Fernandez triple to jump ship or go ask an up start coach on his staff to take job?? Otherwise there may not be a whole lot out there better than Moon. Will they run a 2021 offense and defense, probably but ask John Wallace if that style worked there....

RJ Sanchez

“Pirate Ship” replace with private ship. Lol

RJ Sanchez

It’s about time! I agree with the post of the lady that this has been a long time coming. The offensive & defensive schemes of Moon’s program has been the same for nearly three decades. And his program has had some limited success, but not nearly what the talent on the field was capable of. The game of football has evolved and Capital has been stuck in the past. Running the rock should be in every playbook, but not the entire playbook. The game has changed like it or not!

Football has evolved into up tempo schemes. The primary formation in today’s high school & college era is the gun formation and a spread offensive. Not the I-formation- Moons three decade old offensive. Boring, predictable, and easy to defend if you can match the physicality of Capital- you win! And for teams that were more physical with modern football schemes Capital was dominated almost on every occasion. The QB is the most important position on the field in modern football not the running back. Capital has had a plethora of solid RB’s - could you imagine if Capital had a modern scheme with all those good backs facing 5-7 defenders in the box vs 8-9 defenders in the box. Forget about it, Capital would have been so dynamic with the quick athletes they have.

Good by Moon and thank the heavens above! Please don’t hire any of

his coaching tree! We need change because the game has changed! Not to mention Moons attitude has always been that he was the smartest guy in the room and he cursed like a captain on a private ship. Obviously, he was not. He tried to keep SF football in the past it really never worked against the good teams/programs. No place for that old school scheme & F bombs dropping like WWII in today’s game of football/classroom.

Football will always have the element of smash mouth it is part of the game, but it’s different now. The intellect of multiple plays on every play is the game now; read options, RPO’s, the spread, no huddle, quick offensives, hand signals, play boards on the sidelines, get the ball out of the QB’s hand, spread the ball out to multiple players, be unpredictable, and then give the rock to the RB with 5 guys in the box & light up the scoreboard is the game now. Three yards and a cloud of dust is no more.

If Capital can hire an offensive guru, you will see more wins! Todays game comes with 7 on 7 mentally get the ball out and all over the field. And defensively be just as unpredictable, blitz from everywhere. Watch Artesia, Rio Rancho, Volcano Vista, Roswell, Farmington, and the big big dog Cleveland. You will see modern football 🏈 our kids deserve to be part of the NEW ERA of football. Bye to the I- formation. At least that’s what we are praying for.

Nancy Lockland

It's time for ALL the coaching staff at Capital High to be replaced. Minus the baseball coach who seems to actually have the athletes in his best interest, no hidden agenda.

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