That prediction about a boring hoops offseason? About that …

May 2, 2019

Consider this my mea culpa, Northern New Mexico basketball fans.

Ol’ Barron stuck his foot in his mouth when he said the prep coaching carousel was going to be one boring ride this spring and summer. Or, maybe he was just bored and figured saying such a thing would get the ball rolling.

And, boy, did it.

Thanks, Española Valley and Los Alamos.

Take a bow, Ron Drake.

Welcome back, Richard Martinez (coaching license pending).

And how about a third go-round at West Las Vegas, David Bustos?

Yeah, the excitement level was amped moments after that April 3 column. It started two days later with James Branch’s dismissal as the head boys basketball coach at Española; then came “The Return of the King” when Mesa Vista announced Richard Martinez was returning to coach the boys program.

Since then:

• Los Alamos is still looking for a boys coach after, as rumor has it, its top two choices turned down the school’s offer.

• A Facebook post erroneously announced that current Northern New Mexico College men’s assistant Gabe Martinez was the boys hire at Española, only to be taken down hours later.

• Drake left the green pastures of state champion Pecos girls to take on the perpetual building project that is Academy for Technology and the Classics.

So much for a boring ride.

There is plenty of intrigue with the coaching changes, and we haven’t seen the last of the surprises. And since I did such a brilliant job of predicting a slow offseason, why don’t I double down and offer some wild speculation about who might end up where.

What if I told you …

• That Gabe Martinez probably will get the Sundevils job? He’s learned a lot under the tutelage of Eagles head coach Ryan Cordova, and perhaps it’s best that Española get away from hiring retread coaches.

• That Bustos won’t get the West Las Vegas job? Not after he literally dragged the entire West Las Vegas administration under the bus with “VideoGate” two years ago.

• That Los Alamos athletic director Ann Stewart should have just given the job to former Mesa Vista head boys coach Benito Maestas? I’m not sure re-opening the position for applications is going to bring in a better pool of candidates. Maestas did a solid job at Mesa Vista, and it’s clear he wants the job.

• That a Pecos native might be the best qualified to take over for Drake? Could it be Cindy Roybal? Perhaps. After a year away from coaching, she is chomping at the bit to get another job, although she prefers a boys coaching position. Still, she is a state championship coach, and she would inherit a good team next year. Not quite state championship great, but good.

Either that or offer it to East Mountain head boys coach, 1981 Pecos grad and former New Mexican advertising director Joe Vigil, just for the fun of it.

Looks like I’ll be writing a few more apologies in a few weeks.

James Barron writes an opinion column about sports in New Mexico. Contact Barron at 505-986-3045 or jbarron@sfnewmexican.com.