WEB FIRST: Belen’s Trantham named football coach at Los Lunas

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LOS LUNAS – Hours after he was named the new head coach of the Los Lunas football team, Terrell Trantham turned his thoughts to his closet – the place the former Belen football and track star will now remove most of the maroon and gold gear he wore the last two years while coaching the Eagles at his alma mater.

“Yeah, I’m going to have to put something in the attic,” he said with a chuckle. “The wardrobe change going to be hard but it’s nice to be part of something new.”

Trantham will now don the orange and blue of Los Lunas after being named head football coach on Thursday, April 24. The job coaching the Tiger football team came open late last month when first-year coach Duane Toliver accepted a job as athletic director and football coach back in his native Texas. Toliver led LLHS to the state semifinals for a second straight year, going 9-3. Toliver replaced Jeremy Newton, who in three years took the Tigers to the playoffs three times, including a finish as state runners-up in the 2012 Class 4A State Championship game.

Los Lunas schools athletic director Wilson Holland said over a dozen coaches applied for the position. Holland and the district’s selection committee narrowed that group down to five, of which four interviewed – two head coaches, former Oñate coach Kelly McGee and current McCurdy coach George Oropeza; and two assistant coaches Tony Jaramillo from Alamogordo High and Trantham.

In the end, Holland said it was Trantham’s positive and engaging interview that won him the job.

“For us he was very enthusiastic, organized and motivated,” Holland said. “Terrell is a highly intelligent man. He did very well in the interview. For every question that was asked, he had a plan for that.
“We’re very fortunate to have him,” Holland concluded firmly.

Trantham said despite his comfort and success at Belen, he felt it was time to step into a larger role.

“I really kind of felt I was ready to apply for head coaching jobs and Los Lunas seemed really like a shining star,” he said, adding that his former high school coach, Kevin Benavidez, is now the athletic coordinator at LLHS. “It was close to home and they’d had some nice success recently. I felt a nice connection right away.”

Trantham, who graduated from Belen High School in 2003, just finished his second season coaching the Eagles. The 28-year-old graduated from New Mexico State University in 2007, by which time he’d already coached two years at Mayfield High School, which won back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006.

From there Trantham went to Colorado, where he helped rebuild the program at Skyline High School in Longmont, Colo., where he coached from 2007 to 2011.

Trantham returned to New Mexico then, serving as a varsity assistant and freshman head coach at Atrisco Heritage Academy in Albuquerque before joining coach John Lerma’s staff at Belen as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2012.

Trantham said despite a pair of stints as defensive coordinator, he has not decided which side of the ball he will coordinate.

“I feel time my time as defensive coordinator lets me see into secrets of offenses,” he said. “Right now I want to see how things shake out and who we get on board. If we get a guy who’s confident coaching defense I can work around that. I want to maximize the potential of the staff.”

Trantham also wants to maximize the potential of the athletes in his charge as well.

“I feel a dedication towards teaching these kids, not just about football but about life,” Trantham said. “I haven’t met the kids yet but I’m very anxious to get to start this together. I look at this as next phase of Los Lunas football.”

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