After a decade and a half coaching the Tigers track team, Taos Athletics Director James Branch was not approved to return as the boys coach this spring.

In a written statement to The Taos News, Tuesday (March 9), Branch stated that Interim Superintendent Madelyn Marmol issued him a letter three weeks earlier informing him that he would not be recommended for the position, which he has held for 14 years.

“The contention was that I could not perform my duties as athletic director and track coach effectively,” Branch wrote, “even though I have performed all duties for a year and a half under three other superintendents.

“Furthermore, I reapplied for the position and there were no other applicants, however, Benny Mitchell who has been my assistant the past 14 years was appointed the job.”

Ironically, the decision comes as Branch is eligible to receive the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Level Four milestone award in track and field, after accumulating 800 points based on several criteria, including meet championships, district titles, individual and relay championships in district and at state, years of service as a coach and other factors. He describes the award as “among the most prestigious honors awarded by the NMAA and the NMHSCA.”

Branch has led the Tigers to six district runner-up titles, often placing behind the Los Alamos squad, a dominant force in the state; he had also served as head track coach in Questa for seven years, where the team clinched seven consecutive district titles.

Despite the anxiety caused by the dismissal, Branch said he is “thankful that the state's most important athletic governing bodies acknowledge and recognize my accomplishments and for this I am extremely blessed.”

The decision also comes as Taos is preparing to enter the first season on a new track.

“I had been anxiously awaiting the addition of the new track and field complex,” Branch wrote, “and looking forward to working with numerous student athletes, several of whom I have been chasing down the halls in an effort to motivate them to run this season.”

Marmol could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday (March 9).

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cowboy737_e
cowboy737_e

Oh pobrecito.

plt3056
plt3056

Now all Superintendent Marmol has to do is fire Branch as Athletic Director. & Head basketball Coach, Taos Sports will then be well on it way to becoming the power house in all sports it used to be

livedintaosallmylife
livedintaosallmylife

You state that your a motivator. Your more like a de-motivator. Your nothing but bull bull bull. Hopefully you'll get out like you deserve.

taoseno74
taoseno74

Branch called it a "witch hunt" in the journel north, and the word quit isn't in his vocabulary. Coach please do all of us a favor and QUIT! QUIT! QUIT! QUIT!

firebranch
firebranch

Excellent job on the part Interim Superintendent Marmol. It is good to see somebody open their eyse and step up to the plate like this. I completely agree with 76er . . . relieve Branch of his other duties, and Taos has a decent chance when it comes to athletics.

TAOSGRAD
TAOSGRAD

A good offense starts with a good defense. Wipe your tears because your defense has way to many holes in it. Everything you accuse your boss of doing you have done... Yet the board continues to protect you. Open your eyes maybe the kids your chasing down the halls are running from you. Taos has seen enough and so have the kids... Maybe its time to retire then you would not have to QUIT!!! Walk away no run like the kids are...

Southern NM Tiger Fan
Southern NM Tiger Fan

GREAT, Now the next step is to get rid of him as AD and B-Ball coach.

theeyesdontlie
theeyesdontlie

im sure that his breakfast and/or lunch comrades (Arsenio Cordova and Lorraine Coca-Ruiz) must be devastated. Good going, Madelyn.

firebranch
firebranch

You are on the money Southern . . . How did you like Saturday? Thats another one for us up here! lol

83Tiger
83Tiger

Great job Madelyn! Don't stop there, THS athletics needs to move up to the next level and his leadership has a proven "track" record of doing just the opposite.

Southern NM Tiger Fan
Southern NM Tiger Fan

I agree with 83 tiger THS athletics needs to move up to next level. Hey firebranch there always next year!! Your School and my school is a good example of good leadership

ianettajj
ianettajj

It's truly about time that someone get's foot stompin, player trippin branch off the track field. Now let's push to get him off the $67k AD posistion and head basketball coach. The guy obviously cannot discharge the duties of his office. Tell me how Branch can be an AD a job that should require an 8-5 schedule, yet cuts out early at 2:30 to run practice and pad his pocket a little better. I know coaching in Taos don't pay alot but it does pay, isn't this tripple dipping? Also, take a look at ANY New Mexico district web sites and you will find full season schedules, player stats, and tournament brackets, for all athletics. Yet I had to buy a $10 schedule from the boosters to get a schedule for the boys varsity this year. There are sooo many duties required by the NMAA as AD so tell mewhy we cannot even get up to date info via the Taos districts web page. As a head coach why we don't even make it past districts,even though there are 5 coaches on the bench alongside Branch, UNM bareley supports this type of entourage, but then again the are #3 in the NCAA east division tournament!?! Sounds like little man syndrome. Please, please board members, look at these STUDENT athletes, give them a chance to earn an athletic scholarship, play kids that earn and deserve to be played rather than the who you know not what you know. Let's get qualified AD's and coaches to run a lack of leadership plagued athletic program. Knowledge and talent go a long way, just look 45min south to Espanola. State runer up is not half bad for a school that faces way more challenges than ours do. I wonder how many kids will head to Division 1 schools with scholarships, and a chance at a great education and life. Let's give OUR kids something to look forward to besides running from the AD in the halls!!!!

firebranch
firebranch

ianettajj . . . you forgot to mention the fact that Branch can regularly be found at Taos Spa working out in the middle of the morning, rather than handling his duties as AD. I have witnessed this on several occasions. Southern, your school puts out several quality athletic programs, and the rivalry only keeps getting better! See you at state (pick your sport!!!)

goldilocks
goldilocks

Perhaps Coach Branch would help his amigos Arsenio and Lorraine and coach them in the practice of fair play, positive sportsmanship, and honesty. Opps, forgot Branch doesn't play by those rules either. Agree with all of the above!