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Española girls coach gets restraining order against player’s parents

January 22, 2019

Española Valley’s head girls basketball coach filed a restraining order Thursday against the parents of one of the varsity players after an incident at a basketball game in Belen.

Joe Estrada, the first-year head coach, filed the order in First District Court against Joe and Ruby Trujillo after the Lady Sundevils’ 55-45 win at Belen on Wednesday. Estrada wrote in the order that the Trujillos, whose daughter is senior guard Melissa Trujillo, were “verbally abusive and threatening me” after the game.

Estrada declined to go into details about the request for a restraining order after Española’s 67-46 win over Capital at home Friday night. He did say that he feels there is a culture within the athletic department that he is trying to help change.

“We are really trying to do that, and we have a superintendent [Bobbie Gutierrez] here who really wants to start changing the culture here,” Estrada said. “We love basketball here, and it’s great that we love basketball here, but we gotta act better.”

Gutierrez said Joe Trujillo made threats to Estrada and made unflattering statements about some of the players.

“He made some threats and also made some ugly comments about some of the other girls, about our student-athletes,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez added Española Public Schools had already banned Trujillo from home games after a similar incident during the team’s home opener Dec. 8 against Clovis. However, it did not preclude him from going to road games.

Gutierrez said the New Mexico Activities Association was notified of the situation and Trujillo has been banned from attending any extracurricular events sanctioned by the organization for one year.

The ban does not extend to Ruby Trujillo, although Gutierrez said she warned her to keep her distance from Estrada and to be careful with her comments.

This is not the first time this year the activities association has sanctioned Española fans and parents.

In October, the organization banned spectators from the football team’s final home game against Albuquerque St. Pius X after a brawl between Española and Bernalillo that led to a forfeit by the Sundevils.

Bernalillo coaches said Española parents entered the field, although athletic director Ruben Salazar said none of the fights involved adults.

The activities association later allowed parents for senior Sartans players to attend the game after an appeal.

Gutierrez said the district is trying to change the way parents and fans act.

“They don’t seem to realize that when they behave this way, they violating school board policy and violating laws and statutes,” Gutierrez said. “It is assault. There haven’t been any physical exchanges, but it is assault.”

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