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Then-Española Valley girls basketball coach Bobby Romero yells instructions at his players in the 2018 District 2-5A Tournament championship. Academy for Technology and the Classics hired Romero earlier this month to coach the boys team.

Bobby Romero already has shown he can step into a head coaching role in midseason and that he can set the foundation for a basketball program.

Now, he wants to show he can see through the process of developing a championship-caliber team. Romero, who was let go as the head girls basketball coach at Mesa Vista in the spring, took over the boys position at Academy for Technology and the Classics earlier this month, replacing Anthony Moya after two seasons.

Romero guided the Lady Trojans to a 20-32 record in two seasons at Mesa Vista, but last year’s 12-15 record was a sign the program was heading in the right direction after winning just 11 games the previous two seasons. The school, however, opened up the position for applications and hired Leonard Torrez in April.

Prior to that, Romero took over as the head girls coach at Española Valley late in the 2017-18 season when Johnny Abeyta was placed on leave amid a district investigation. He led the Lady Sundevils to an 8-2 record, a District 2-5A title and a spot in the Class 5A quarterfinals.

After showing he is capable of building and sustaining programs, Romero said he wants one thing above all else: stability.

“I’m looking for a place where I can build some tenure and have the opportunity to see things through,” Romero said. “Last year, Mesa Vista — as you can see through MaxPreps — was trending in the right direction. In my opinion, we were on the upswing, and they really had no answers as to why they let me go. So, for me, I am just looking for some consistency.”

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That could happen at ATC, a school that has reached double figures in wins just once in its six-year history. The Phoenix went 5-19 last year and won 10 games combined in the past two years.

Romero sees a young but talented roster that holds the building blocks for success.

Romero said he has five incoming freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors to go with nine eighth graders-to-be after meeting the players Monday. Romero added that he was most impressed with the answers he received from them about their expectations for the 2020-21 season.

“They said they wanted more conditioning, they want more structure,” Romero said. “It was a different environment, and it was exciting to hear. … You know how it is sometimes. You run into a situation where you’re a heavy junior or senior squad it’s hard to change a lot of their mindset that far into their career. In many ways, it’s a blessing to walk into this situation.”

Romero had a job lined up to take over the boys basketball program at Peñasco, replacing Brandon Gurule, but he turned down the position after a few days in late May because he wanted to coach closer to his home in Pojoaque. Romero also works at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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