Questa picks new AC to helm athletics

New coaches on board as well


The Questa Independent Schools have selected Manuel Gonzales as their next athletic coordinator for the upcoming 2018-19 sports season. Gonzales will serve under the direction of Felipe Blea, the district's federal programs director and athletic director.

As is the policy in Questa, all coaching and athletic coordinator positions were opened up at the end of the school year. "Positions were open for just under two and a half months," said Questa superintendent LeAnne Salazar in an email to The Taos News. "There were two applicants, and the (hiring) committee recommended Mr. Gonzales."

Gonzales is the seventh person in two years to serve as the head of athletics, whether as director or coordinator, since the unexpected departure of Jesus Maes June 30, 2016. Gonzales replaces Miguel Romero and takes over a program that has witnessed personnel tumult and a series of unfortunate events in the last two years.

This included a villagewide water shortage that caused the postponement of several home games during the 2016-17 basketball season, the cancellation of football games due to a lack of players, the abrupt firing of the boys basketball coach two weeks prior to the start of the 2017-18 season and the near-cancellation of spring sports in 2018.

According to a press release from Salazar, "Gonzales is a lifelong resident of Questa and a graduate of Questa High School. With nearly a lifelong involvement in Questa athletics and 16 years of direct coaching experience with the district, Gonzales' overall experience demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of all sports and the associated support that is necessary to sustain a competitive high school athletic program."

One of the highlights of Gonzales' coaching career was coaching and assembling Questa's first ever state championship boys basketball team in 1994 alongside his longtime mentor and colleague James Branch.

Along with the announcement of the new AC, coaches for fall sports were named as well. Returning to their posts are Bill McDonald and Kathy Gonzales as head coaches of Questa Wildcat (co-ed) soccer and cheer, respectively. Daniel Gallegos has been hired to coach the Questa Wildcat football team, replacing Chris Torres. Diane Leon takes the reigns as head coach of the Lady Cats Volleyball team, replacing Michelle Spears.