Rios resigns as Jaguar basketball coach

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After one season at Valencia High School, boys basketball coach Ezau Rios has resigned to pursue a business opportunity with his wife in southern New Mexico.

The Jaguars showed some growth after having one of the most depleted rosters from graduation the previous year that a team could endure. Valencia lost all of their starters and seven players in all as 2012 seniors.

Valencia went 5-22 during the just completed season. They posted a 1-9 district mark, with their lone win coming over Miyamura at home.

The Jags exited the District 6-4A playoffs in the first round, losing a close game at Belen, 60-53.

"My family and I have a great opportunity that we can not pass up," said Rios, "We had to settle our future and we had to take it. We could not turn it down."

Rios and his wife, with baby on the way, are pursuing a business opportunity near Lovington.

Rios was sad to leave the kids and said that he will miss the team.

"That is always the hardest part as a coach," said Rios. "The kids are willing to give you their time and their effort.

"To see where they were last May when I met them, you wonder how much more progress they will make (in coming seasons)."

The coaching vacancy will be officially announced by Los Lunas Schools and applicants will be narrowed down for interviews by a selection committee.

Athletic Director Wilson Holland is looking for longevity as part of his hopes for hiring the next Valencia basketball coach.

"We felt coach Rios did a great job with the boys," said Holland, noting that a single-season coaching situation is not ideal.

"Nobody wants a one and done situation — not the coaches, not the players, not the administration," said Holland.

He explained that the opening should get a lot of attention, just because of the timing of the announcement.

"The state tournament is going on so that buzz is already out there," said Holland. "The coaches know what openings there are and it is being talked about."

The New Mexico Activities Association boys state basketball tournaments begin today for all classes at sites around the state and conclude with state championships at the University of New Mexico arena on Saturday, March 16.

"We have to find a new coach and it is just part of the business," said Holland. "Now, my job is that we recruit and retain a coach that will hopefully want to be in Los Lunas for many years."

Rios wanted to thank the administration for the opportunity to coach at Valencia.

"I would like to express my thanks to Mr. Holland, Mr. (Andrew) Saiz and Mr. (Eliseo) Aguirre," said Rios. "They were very helpful and positive."


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.