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Patricia Chavez named girls head basketball coach at SFIS

Patricia Chavez promoted to head coach of the Santa Fe Indian School girl’s basketball program after serving two years as Braves assistant coach

Chavez has coached various sports since graduating from Gallup High School in 1981

Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today

Patricia Chavez was in the right place at the right time.

For most of her coaching career, she’s been an assistant coach, and now she’s ready to move in as the new head girl’s basketball coach at Santa Fe Indian School.

A 1981 graduate of Gallup High School, she is now in a relatively new area, but she’s quite familiar with Northern New Mexico basketball, especially the Braves.

Under head coach Christie Abeyta, the program went 25-5 last season, was ranked among the top teams in 4A, and was undefeated in District 5. Abeyta, who resigned in the spring to pursue a graduate degree that could lead to an administrative position, won 61 times in her three years with Indian School, with Chavez her assistant the last two years.

As for Chavez, who was promoted on Friday, she’s optimistic about this role, and said: “This is definitely a high-profile job.”

She played at Gallup, was All-District, and then served as a volunteer assistant for her alma mater, which was then one of the top teams in the state. At Western New Mexico, she began as a starter for the basketball team, and then transferred to Northern Arizona where she switched to softball.

“I’m ready to be on an island by myself, “said Chavez, on Friday, “and at the end of the day, I’m ready for this after spending a lot of time as an assistant and learning the ropes.”

She added that she enjoys coaching, and that includes as an assistant or in this new role as a head coach.

It’s not exactly new, just awhile since she was a head coach. In the early 1990s, she had the reigns of the Bernalillo girl’s basketball coach. She was also at Questa as head coach of volleyball and track and field.

She also spent 16 years teaching and coaching as an assistant in Rio Rancho, with the last three years there as a middle school and varsity basketball assistant at SFIS, so she’s taking over a program that she’s familiar with.

“A great bunch of girls,” she said in regard to the Braves after last season’s team carried a 13-game win streak, and advanced to the state quarterfinals before losing to Moriarty, the UNM Pit.

The program has won three state titles, under John Abeyta in 2004-05, and under Cindy Roybal in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Since 2007, the overall record is 241-110, and there’s been only one losing season.

It’s no secret to Chavez, but the Braves lost only two players from last year’s varsity. They return the Lewis sisters, Camilla and Leanna, Mariana Yazzie, Jordan Torres, Hunter Garcia, Iris Emery, and Franki Chavez. Garcia, Emery and Chavez have already played three seasons, while Yazzie has played since 8th grade and will now wind up as a senior.

Braves’ athletic director Eric Brock said that it takes a special person to handle this, and he thinks she can.

“She’s had plenty of coaching experience,” he said, “and she has the knowledge, energy and passion to fill the role.”  

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