Hall of Fame awaits
If you mention the name of Goddard boys basketball coach Anthony Mestas to those who travel in the circle of New Mexico High School basketball, they’ll know who you’re talking about. Some will recall the 2011 Hagerman squad he coached that went 31-0 and captured the 1A title that year. Mestas holds the honor of winning two of Hagerman’s four state basketball crowns.
When the 2011 Hagerman team won it all, it broke an 87-year drought without a state crown. The last time a Hagerman team had won a state basketball title was in 1924. In 2014, Mestas coached Hagerman to its last Blue Trophy when the team went 26-4. That year, there must have been something in the water in Chaves County because, along with Hagerman, Roswell and Dexter also took home state hardware.
No doubt the wins have piled up for Mestas, now into his 15th season. So much so that he has joined an exclusive club, which former Roswell coach Britt Cooper also is a member of with 416 career wins. Yes, it’s the 300 wins club. The Rockets won No. 300 for him during the Poe Corn Tournament last December, which is a major accomplishment on any level.
“At the time, I never really thought about it,” Mestas said. “I didn’t think it was a big deal. My wife, though, got me a cake and a cake for the team and invited friends and former players from Hagerman and Goddard.”
Now he reflects on the milestone.
“There are not too many coaches who have won 300. Britt Cooper is there with 400-plus wins and four titles. Then there’s the legend Ralph Tasker at Hobbs with over 600 wins and I believe there are about 30 or more coaches at this level,” Mestas said.
What makes Mestas’ feat even more rare is, he is only one of six coaches in the history of New Mexico high school basketball ever to have a team go undefeated, and he won a state title to boot.
“When you get to 100 and 200, you got to remember, you’re in it for the kids first and foremost. I was fortunate to have some very good athletes everywhere I’ve been. I had tremendous players in Hagerman for 10-plus years. I inherited Noah Wade my first two seasons here at Goddard. He was a fantastic point guard.”
But now Mestas is in the conversation with some of the great coaches of the game.
“Yeah, that’s for you, sports guys,” Mestas chuckled. “We have to continue to win at Goddard — we still have a lot to prove here. We’ll be competing for a district championship. I want to get this team to The Pit. It’s the mecca of high school basketball. The last time Goddard advanced to the state title game was in 2011 and came within 90 seconds of winning.
“This 2019 team has the potential to get to The Pit. We have great senior leadership and the players are hungry enough to get there,” Mestas said.
Mestas pointed out there is good chemistry on this team.
“We have kids that want to be around one another. For the most part, all of them take coaching exceptionally well. I can get on to them, they take constructive criticism very well. It has really been an enjoyable year.”
Mestas said he’ll continue to coach as long as the desire is there.
“I love to go fishing with my family. If I ever stay at my favorite fishing hole and don’t come back, I will know.”
Currently, Mestas stands at 305. For now, his favorite pastime is coaching, and the lure of getting to The Pit and winning a third title and the second for the Rockets (1988) is good enough.