Taos High head basketball coach and special education teacher Rick Apodaca was fired Wednesday (Oct. 17), and the school district is moving quickly to fill the position.
Apodaca, who was put on paid administrative leave Oct. 5, said he has appealed to the school board. The board has received his documentation on the issue and can overturn interim Superintendent Rose Martinez’ decision, but Apodaca said he does not know when the appeal will be heard.
“We have been getting a ton of calls, a ton of support from the community,” he added.
Martinez, who did not immediately return phone calls from The Taos News, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that filling the coaching position is a top priority.
“The fact of the matter is that the boys season begins on Nov. 5 and it’s not something we can wait on,” she said.
However, former coach and current Athletic Director James Branch would not be considered as an option unless he steps down as athletic director, Martinez said. Branch led the boys team from 1999 to 2004 before being fired.
Apodaca was hired to replace him, and Branch spent a year each at Questa and McCurdy before returning this year to head Taos athletics.
It is unclear what would happen if the firing is overturned after a new coach is hired.
Both Martinez and Apodaca declined to comment on the cause for the decision.