Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online

April 23, 2002

Last night was one of those miserable times when I just couldn't get to sleep. I’m not sure what caused it, but a leading suspect is the lemon-drop martinis I consumed earlier in the evening. A friend stopped by after work, and when I offered her a drink she said my wife had told her that I had gotten pretty good at making lemon-drop martinis. (One of our new cocktail lounges here in Santa Fe features them on the drink menu.)

I told our friend that I just happened to have a lemon available and would be glad to accommodate her. Except for the vodka, this drink is nothing remotely similar to what most of us know as a martini. It tastes like lemonade, which masks the liquor and makes one want to drink them by the gallon. Bad idea. The result was that I didn't feel much like walking this morning. In spite of my condition, however, I was out the door by 6.

Chugging along trying to clear the cobwebs out of my head, I thought about the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship game earlier this month, between Indiana and Maryland, which I had watched on television. Indiana was the Cinderella team, and Maryland the heavy favorite. Maryland proved to be too much for Indiana, but the Hoosiers gave the Terps a run for their money.

Then I asked myself: Why can't the University of New Mexico have a competitive team, which the fans so richly deserve? The Lobos’ last coach recently resigned after three disappointing seasons, and a new coach has already been selected. But the new coach comes to UNM with a losing record from his previous two schools. Why would the selection committee think that he will suddenly have a winning record here?

Several high school coaches from around New Mexico had shown interest in the job, along with a former Lobo player who went on to become a professional basketball star. The former player was dropped from consideration because he had not completed his college degree, a requirement for the position. The high school coaches were given little or no consideration, even though they had long-established winning records.

A frequently heard argument is that high school coaches lack the ability to recruit quality players for a major university program. But it seems to me that high school coaches who have very little choice in determining who will come out for their team and yet produce winners year after year deserve some consideration. After all, these guys aren't ignorant —they know they would need to hire staff with recruiting experience. They certainly couldn't do much worse than some of the coaches that UNM has hired in the past.

This year the Lobos played in the National Invitational Tournament , a second-tier affair, and lost their first game.

I guess the thought of not hiring a high school coach is like not believing that the next-door neighbor could ever be president of the United States. And yet every president has been someone’s next-door neighbor!

Have a great day.


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