There have been some troubles at a local high school. And that's putting it lightly.
La Cueva, the school most consistently associated with sports and winning, was put through the ringer last week. First, the football team, which won the state championship last year, got knocked out of the playoffs by Mayfield. The Las Cruces team then went on to beat Manzano for the top prize.
After going undefeated in 2009, the La Cueva Bears were expected to repeat, especially since they were led by Texas Tech-bound Ronnie Daniels. Daniels racked up the awards as the season went by, but the Bears fell short.
The bus ride back home to Albuquerque after that game was certain to be a terrible time, but events spun out from there that will have far-reaching effects. Head coach Fred Romero and assistant coach Mike Tixier were removed from La Cueva, will be reassigned to another school and are banned from ever coaching again. The pair is, of course, appealing the decision.
The Albuquerque Journal is often criticized for its fawning coverage of the east heights schools (especially La Cueva's football and basketball programs), but the paper’s been on top fo this story. Yesterday, an article detailed some of the other offenses the school's racked up, including baseball and volleyball infractions.
All this explains the unusual step APS Superintendent Winston Brooks took in expelling Romero and Tixier from their positions, but it doesn't do much to clean up the situation at La Cueva. Students have claimed, believably in my opinion, that this sort of behavior occurs at all schools. There can be little doubt about that.
However, with the spotlight once again on La Cueva and its athletic program, Brooks had to feel some kind of impetus for greater-than-normal action. Time will tell the toll his decisions will have on the school, the athletics programs, the student body and, most importantly, the lives of men who have given much of their time and lives to those same schools, athletics programs and students.