Questa fires head basketball coach, community perplexed by move

Superintendent gives no reason for termination, official start of season looms


Update Oct. 17, 6:30 p.m.: The Questa Independent Schools board canceled Tuesday (Oct. 17) night's regular meeting after a capacity crowd turned out to discuss the coach's termination. The meeting has been rescheduled for Friday (Oct. 20).

2017 is quickly becoming like “Groundhog Day” in Northern New Mexico. The coaching carousel continues to spin and job security is barely a slumbered dream for many Questa skippers jolted awake to a new, yet old day. The turnover bug has hit the athletic program and, more specifically, the boys basketball team. Another head coach was given a pink slip in the Wildcat nation.

In a surprise move, Questa Independent School District has fired Tomas Madrid as the head boys basketball coach – a mere two weeks before the official start of the 2017-18 season, which begins Oct. 30.

Questa Superintendent Dr. David Albert indicated that the position was “at will” and no reason was necessary to remove Madrid from his post.

Hired in May 2016 to replace the now-late Cruz Chavez II, who at the time opted out of his contract to continue as head coach of the Wildcats, Madrid accomplished several notable benchmarks during his short tenure.

A 1992 graduate from Robertson High School in Las Vegas, New Mexico, this was Madrid’s first stint as head coach at the varsity level. Madrid led his team to victories over Mora and Escalante last year – snapping longtime losing streaks to those two teams – and finished the season with a 17-9 overall record. This was an improvement on the 11-16 overall record the team had in 2015-16. The boys were invited to the state tournament and traveled to Jal to play in the opening round as a No. 10 seed.

With this latest move, Questa High School has witnessed inordinate turnover rates among its coaches and athletic coordinators in the last year and a half. At the end of the 2016-17 school year, all coaches were removed from their positions and made to reapply for their jobs if they wished to continue guiding their teams. It is not known if this is standard practice in the district and/or if this is required of all district personnel. A Questa school board meeting was scheduled after this section went to press Oct. 17, and members of the community were planning to attend to protest the removal – with a petition to keep Madrid as coach in hand. The meeting was postponed due to exceeding maximum capacity.

Madrid had worked with Questa as an assistant basketball coach before under Larry King from 2014 to 2015, and he is still a teacher at the high school.