Medina returns to Española

by Staff Reporter / Mar 26, 2018 / 0 comments
Miguel Medina has returned to Española Valley High School as head football coach. Medina led the Sundevils to their best football season in school history, compiling a 9-2 record and winning the District 2-5A championship in 2015. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Medina returns to Española

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The coach who led the Española Valley High School football team to its best season in school history has returned to coach the football team again. Miguel Medina took Española to the state football playoffs for just the second time in school history and compiled a 9-2 record during the 2015 football season. Medina resigned in 2016 as coach following the forced resignation of then-Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez following her firing of boys basketball coach Richard Martinez.

“Honestly, I never wanted to leave,” Medina said. “My heart’s always been here.”

Medina has also taken over as track and field coach.

“They didn’t have a coach,” Medina said. “I’m trying to get some of the football players out. When I was in high school, if you played football, youhad to run track.”

Medina played his high school football at West Las Vegas High School in Las Vegas, NM. It was there that his uncle, Luis Medina, encouraged him to become involved with sports.

“He planted the seed,” Coach Medina said.

Medina started his football coaching career at Española as an assistant to his cousin, Manny Medina, who served as head coach from 2005-2007 before leaving to coach in Texas. He served as an assistant coach at Pojoaque Valley High School before taking over at Española for the 2012 season. The Sundevils struggled during his first two seasons, winning just three games. Española was 4-6 in 2014 before the breakout year in 2015.

“I always believed in Española,” Medina said. “The talent was here.”

Since his departure, the Sundevils were 1-9 in 2016 and 2-8 in 2017. Former head coach Jesus Maes was replaced midway during the2017 season. Interim coach Ray Dupree has since left New Mexico. Medina served as an assistant coach at Santa Fe High School last season.

 The football coaching position was opened up this winter and Medina hired at the end of February.

‘I don’t regret standing up (in 2016),” he said. “I was frustrated with the way things were being handled and always having to fight for the football program. Unfortunately, it ended up hurting the kids.”

Since arriving back at Española, Medina has used the seventh period football class to introduce the players to his style, which incorporates the “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” (BFS) conditioning program.

“We spend three days in the weight room and two days on the field working on speed and agility,” Medina said. “Cone drills, bag drills, short sprints for our quickness. In the weight room, get a little more focused. Try to structure it more.”

Medina feels that he can relate to the players in Española.

“I’m like a lot of these kids,” he said. “Football should be a place where teammates can come and be a part of something positive.”

Medina wants to return to the times when football was well-attended and the atmosphere was “electric”. That was the way it was in 2015, when Española defeated Capital High School to win the District 2-5A championship

“That was the dream,” Medina said. “To have a team that the community could come out and root for in football. So many people all rooting for the same cause. It happened. Football games  are where you mingle with people you know. Show our school spirit and town spirit. Española is a beautiful place to live, but there’s this  kind of negative attitude toward it. The old way of doing things is changing.”