As the 2014-15 school year winds down, the coaching merry-go-round is speeding up.

The past two days has seen a series of coaching changes, highlighted by the resignation of Elmer Chavez, who retired as the head girls basketball coach at Santa Fe High. Chavez, who spent six years with the program, turned the Demonettes from perhaps the worst program in the state — one that lost 41 out of 43 games from 2009-10 — into a state championship team in 2014. He leaves with a 103-67 record at the school, an impressive achievement considering the Demonettes were 1-23 in his first season.

Santa Fe High was 16-11 in 2014-15 and reached the Class AAAAAA State Tournament, losing in the first round to Las Cruces.

Meanwhile, Pojoaque Valley filled its girls basketball position when it hired Seledon Martinez to take over the program. He replaces Chris Williams, who lasted just one season and led the Elkettes to a 7-20 mark. Martinez applied for the job in 2014 when Ron Drake resigned after three years, but was passed over.

Martinez, though, is not focusing on why he wasn’t a good enough candidate last year, but was a spring later.

“I can’t speak for what they were looking for back then,” Martinez said. “I went to the all the games [this season] and I saw what we still need to do and I explained that to the committee. I’m not sure if I was the first, third or fourth choice, but that doesn’t matter. I got my chance to help these kids.”

Martinez made his mark as the co-head girls basketball coach with brother-in-law Walter Bustos at McCurdy, where the pair went 201-89 and won six district titles.

Not to be left out, Santa Fe Indian School made its hire on Friday afternoon to replace Lanse Carter after he resigned as the girls’ head coach in April after one season and a 16-13 record. Christie Abeyta, a 1992 graduate of the school and former assistant coach from 2011-13, was hired to take his place.

“I am committed to this school,” Abeyta said in a statement. “I plan to start from scratch — focus on basic skills — to build the most stable foundation possible. Success will come because there’s a lot a talent to work with. My job is to regroup, build atmosphere, and take the team as high as it can go year after year.”

Meanwhile, Chavez said he was retiring because he had reached his retirement age in the state, but was looking for a job outside of the public-school sector.

“I am trying to get other jobs at colleges and some other jobs I am looking at,” Chavez said. “I”m just waiting to see what happens.”

Chavez said he felt he stabilized the program in his time, to the point that he believes it can compete in Class AAAAAA. He can back up that assertion since the Demonettes went 3-5 in 1AAAAAA play, which was the second-best district mark to boys tennis this season, and were one of three teams in the athletic program to reach the postseason.

“When you look at the teams in 6A, a lot of their kids play just one sport,” Chavez said. “We’re a school that shares their athletes. We have kids who play volleyball or softball. We have to use those kids, and they are real athletes. They put their time to get better.”

While the job is open for applications, Chavez didn’t hesitate in lobbying for junior varsity head coach Everette Gonzales to take over the spot. It wouldn’t be Gonzales’ first foray into coaching at Santa Fe High; he was head coach in 2004-05 and the program went 2-23.

Despite that, Chavez feels Gonzales has matured as a coach since then and gave a lot of his time to help the program.

“He’s a nice guy and he really cares about the kids,” Chavez said. “When we go to camps, I say, ‘I’m going to help out these [players],’ and he would always help me [with the other players]. He’s been a really good right-hand man.”

(16) comments

Reyes Rodriguez

Why apologies, MO, for your arrogant and condescending remarks? Does this reveal your conscience is eating at you from the inside? Or are you angry for some reason and are lashing out to those who may not have coddled you enough? Whatever the reason, pick your words and opinions better, because they fall on your own integrity and character.
I rarely chime in on things like this, but when I do, it’s mostly to defend the honor of athletes and coaches, whom you have such an elevated “opinion” on, and often bashing them for not even knowing them at all. (Siting your “opinion”) Free speech? Yes, of course. Just remember who you are talking down to when you make your comments.
I certainly do not agree with you about whether Coach Rodriguez is not the man for the job. This man sweats more Demons Pride Blue and Gold from one eyebrow, than you could ever bleed in a lifetime. He and his father’s soul are imbedded in the Demon quilt my friend. If you were such a “committed and dedicated” Demon fan, you should also learn to know when, where and how your opinion makes a difference. And most importantly, who it affects.
Not all coaches are filled with an over reactive sense of emotion. We all have our own way of coaching. Yes, MO, I have coached. I coached kids from as young as 5 to as old at their high school years, and in multiple sports as well. I was not

Reyes Rodriguez

(OOPs got cut off)
...always confident that I was the best person for the job but often recognized when there was a need for someone to step up and try to make a difference. I stopped mainly because I have kids that need my attention given to them as a father. It saddens me when people don’t see these coaches and teachers for being a person with the energy and courage to make a difference, wherever possible.
I do agree that Coach Fernandez is an exceptional coach and deserves his due respect from the community, but he is no better a person then all the others persons who strap on a whistle, a skirt, a jock or whatever and train our kids.
As far as my feeling on Demon Coaches, I feel that the only thing getting in the way of these coaches are the negative comments and scrutiny they have to endure from parents, fans and side-arm coaches who only have an “opinion” and do not support the supposed leaders, those who believe that they are entitled to their two-cents when it’s really not worth even that. The students pick up on that and begin to feel they are entitled to more than they actually are entitled to.
MO, your comments of “WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS ON MY JOCK” and the school yard behavior, oh and the one “You have a dumb name! I'm not listening to you.” Sounds like hypocrisy to me. C’mon-Man!! ‘Y tu tambien’

Terry Rudolph

Very well said Reyes! The apathy is in the mirror for Mr. Ordonez. The good thing is applications are always being accepted.

Terry Rudolph

Ordonez, you're wearing a jock right now? Sounds uncomfortable. Anyway, no don't flatter yourself cuz I'm not a "dude", I am a female that is definitely not interested in flirting with such a negative guy. Your opinions are boring and repetitive. You always sound so jealous of any public figure that is trying to accomplish something in the community. It is you that needs to cut everyone else some slack. Or simply get online at SFPS.info and apply for some coaching gigs. Put yourself and all your "knowledge" out there day in and day out, including Friday nights. See, that takes guts!

Comment deleted.
Julie Marquez

I agree with your comment Sports Fan about it being political, that's the same way it is in Pojoaque. It is just too bad the girls have to suffer for bad decisions made.

Comment deleted.
Julie Marquez

I agree with you Sport Fan, about it being political and not thinking what is best for the team, that is so true, especially in Pojoaque. It is just sad that the team has to suffer for bad decisions made.

Comment deleted.
Mark Ortiz

You have a dumb name! I'm not listening to you.

Destiny Baca

Oh Elmer....the media got to you. We will miss you.

Steve Salazar

Gonzales and Dimas took real talent and threw it away. The search committee needs to look far, far away from Gonzales.

Steve Salazar

I'll admit Gonzales is a good right hand man, but as head coach, bring back Drake.

Mark Ortiz

Why Why do some want to recycle old has been coaches. Drake? Really? Why don't you talk to some of his former players for the real take on Drake. David Rodriguez is pissing away talent for a second stint. Lenny Roybal got a second shot. Geezuz Cristo, if SFHS is that desperate why don't we bring back Coach Church to replace the apathetic Holladay.
I say new blood and more that a 2-3 year window to see if the coach is on the right track.

Steve Salazar

Oliver Torres!!

Steve Salazar

Lanse Carter, if Penasco has any transfers available.

Terry Rudolph

You can always apply Ordonez. Oh no . . . that would take commmitment and guts to put your money where your mouth is. I don't see you having either one. Must be hard to know everything, but never have the guts to do anything.

Reyes Rodriguez

MO claims to know everyone, including me. But he doesn't not as much as he claims. In regards to his 'apathetic' comment, it shows a very ‘pathetic’ disregard to any and all those who do commit their time and effort to all the kids, by coaching and teaching in some form or manner in hopes that they stand a better chance to succeed in life. Are the coaches we have perfect, or are the best ones out there? Well I’m sure MO can answer that for us all. Maybe. Instead of casting stone, let’s support the ones who are willing to put the time and effort to train our kids and who are also willing to put up with the public scrutiny and pessimism. I personally don’t always agree with a coach’s method, but nonetheless respect all coaches for their integrity. (I’m sure MO will have a comment, that’s his MO)

Mark Ortiz

I "think" Oliver Torres would be great. In "my opinon" lot's of fire in that kid.
The parenthesis are for Terry Troll and Reyes who I don't believe I have ever met but recall watching you play for the Demons in the late 80's?? I sincerely apologize if I've come across as a know it all. I'm just stating from my experience "opinions" much like yourselves. No I don't coach. Do I feel the Demons could do better that David Rodriguez, yes. Do admire his time and effort, hell yes. I was hoping we were going to hire Russ Gilmore but I still go to the games. I think as one who is a "committed and dedicated" Demon why CAN"T I have an opinion as I see things? Do I know all the details, no. Yes I do see Holladay as apathetic, from the stands Reyes, from the stands. His teams don't seem extremely disciplined, but as a die hard Demon, I wish we had a coach like Joey Fernandez.
So Reyes, if you can cut me some slack. What are your feelings on Demon coaches. Aren't you coaching anymore or did you?
Terry, I don't know you're deal dude. WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS ON MY JOCK. Is this your way of flirting? Not interested.
What's with the school yard "you don't have the guts" puffed out chest crap? I know EVERYTHING but do NOTHING? What are you in high school? Grow up tough guy.

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