Home Sports Local Sports Roswell’s Fernando Sanchez resigns

Roswell’s Fernando Sanchez resigns

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Nobody wants to be the guy who follows the guy. The guy was the incomparable Joe Carpenter. Carpenter had just won a state title with Jaedyn De La Cerda and her crew. It was his 15th time getting to the semifinals before he was able to win it all.

Former Roswell girls basketball coach Fernando Sanchez. (Daily Record File Photo)

Carpenter parlayed that title into the job at Hobbs. Since then, he has won two additional titles since leaving four years ago. Roswell and Fernando Sanchez knew there would be a rebuild after De La Cerda left to play college basketball at the University of New Mexico.

She’s done well and with an additional year of eligibility, if De La Cerda does not get injured and has a modest season, she will be the 23rd player in women’s Lobos’ history to score 1,000 points in her career.

During his four years here at Roswell, Sanchez has had some success. He got the Lady Coyotes back to the semifinal game his first year on the bench. Roswell lost a tough semifinal game against Goddard at The Pit, 54-52, after winning the championship the prior season.

Sanchez guided the Lady Coyotes to two district titles and finished this year with an upset victory over crosstown rival Goddard. This year was a year of frustration from the standpoint of the COVID-19 pandemic throwing the timing off for the team.

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Roswell had to play a lot of young players, and there was potential. But when Roswell moved up in classification, it led to a lot of question marks and trying times. Roswell has not won a district game in three seasons.

“Yeah, yeah, I did think this would be a tough rebuild,” Sanchez said. “Any good coach is going to know his younger kids coming up. Part of that was having to make some tough decisions and having to choose a path that I felt was good for the team and improvement. We did know there was going to be a drop off. It wasn’t for a lack of effort or anything other than … you get used to playing with a kid like Jaedyn (De La Cerda).”

Sanchez said there are a lot of good players walking around Roswell. But moving up in classification has been tough for the local basketball programs. They’re competing against schools bigger than both Roswell and Goddard.

“That was something that was unexpected,” Sanchez said. “I feel like if we could have competed in that lower district, we could have competed every year. We went up in classification and this is the first year we have not had two teams from our district in the state tournament.”

There is talent coming back next season, but with life happening to Sanchez, he made the decision to move closer to his family and share his family’s life with them.

Sanchez will become the head coach for the Hatch boys’ team next fall. He told his team on Thursday during class period with them.

Basketball is coming full circle for Sanchez. He started his career as a boys coach. He coached them for 13 years with stops at the University of Texas El Paso, Western New Mexico University, Santa Teresa High School and Silver High School. He coached Alamogordo girls for five years and Roswell for four years.

Sanchez said that he has enjoyed coaching girls as well as the boys. He said that basketball is basketball. He said kids compete and he would never throw shade at girls, and that it is just as fun to coach girls as it is to coach boys. The game is a little different, but at the end of the day, you have to defend and still score.

“It was a lot of stuff,” Sanchez said. “We have family obligations. Family really played the biggest role and reason in why I’m headed down there. This was an opportunity that came up for me to take it back there.”

Sanchez said his biggest accomplishment was his final four run, the team winning district twice. Another thing Sanchez said he was proud of was weathering a storm this season.

“Whoever takes over,” Sanchez said, “is going to have a team that likes to compete. We are going to return five starters, and eight players that played varsity minutes. … we started three sophomores and two juniors. We are moving in the right direction.”

Sanchez said that he did not accomplish what he wanted to accomplish while here. He never faulted his team’s effort, and he knows they gave him everything he had, especially in the toughest district in the state. Which made him happy as a coach.

“This is the toughest decision I have ever had to make in my career,” Sanchez said. “At the end of the day it is the opinion of those kids in the locker room that matter to me. I hope parents appreciated the job I did, and how hard I worked, but at the end of the day as a coach, the most important people are those kids I worked with.”

Hatch is a District 4-3A school. Sanchez will be competing against New Mexico Military Institute and Dexter. They are in a district with Socorro, Cobre and Truth or Consequences.

“There is some illness in our family,” Sanchez said, “that we want to be around for. The opportunity to be near family with that job was hard to pass up. That was the single biggest decision for me was to be around the family.”

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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