By Gary Mitchell
Clovis’ legendary football coach will retire his history and government books, but will continue to hang onto his whistle.
Clovis School Board members gave approval Tuesday to accept head football coach Eric Roanhaus’s retirement request. In the same action, they approved the personnel department’s request to hire him as a contract head football coach for the fall season (from July 1 through Dec. 19).
“I’m basically retiring from teaching,” said Roanhaus, who was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame last summer. “If I had retired from coaching and kept teaching, that would be news.”
Roanhaus has been teaching for 33 years, 30 of those at Clovis High School.
During his head coaching career, Roanhaus has compiled 10 state football championships and an overall record of 235 wins, 79 losses and 5 ties.
Although the Clovis school district has been facing absorption and elimination of teaching positions to meet state mandates, Roanhaus’s retirement wasn’t part of it, said Clovis school superintendent Neil Nuttall.
“I don’t think the budget had any impact on his decision,” he said. “I think he had considered retiring the last couple of years. It’s a big decision for someone who has as many years in as he has. With someone as dynamic as Mr. Roanhaus is, I’m sure he might find it harder to step away completely. It’s a way of making the move (to retirement) more gradual. I believe Eric still has a lot to offer student athletes. It’s a way of elongating his career.”
Nuttall noted there are a number of contract coaches throughout the state, most notably Las Cruces Mayfield advisory Jim Bradley.
By Roanhaus retiring from teaching this year, it does help the school district, Nuttall said.
“It will enable us to fill a position we had absorbed otherwise,” he said. “It will keep a position open, so it will help our coaching staff. I don’t know how much that played into his decision, but I’m sure it was a part of it.”
Although Roanhaus said the budget “didn’t have any bearing” on his decision to retire, he did admit, “I’m actually helping the school district by retiring now.”
“It will help us find another coach,” he said. “I’ll try this a while. I’ve enjoyed my association with the kids and the parents. I’m just going to coach — it’ll give me a lot more time to look at videos.”
Roanhaus said he’s been happy with his experience teaching in the classroom at Clovis High.
“I’ve spent 30 very good years in the classroom,” he said. “Clovis is my home. I’ve enjoyed the kids and the folks I’ve worked with. It’s been great.”