Portales coach among ENMU honorees

Freedom Newspapers

After graduating from high school in Bloomfield in 1977, Brenda (Worley) Gomez came across the state to attend Eastern New Mexico University.
Basically, she’s never left the area.
Gomez, the girls basketball coach at Portales High School since 1985, is one of six individuals scheduled for induction into the ENMU Hall of Honors during halftime of Saturday’s 2 p.m. Homecoming football game against West Texas A&M at Blackwater Draw.
“It’s a great honor,” Gomez said. “I’m very flattered to even be considered.”

Other nominees are Col. C. Wayne Calhoun, Dr. Thurman Elder, Conrad Hamilton, Dr. W. Fireman Haynie and Stacy (Tapper) Sparks.

Gomez played guard for the ENMU women’s basketball team from 1977-81, helping the Zias to the NAIA national tournament as a freshman.

“I was offered a full ride at Eastern,” she said. “I played volleyball and basketball my first year, and then they wanted us to make a choice.”

Gomez ranks fourth all-time for the Zias with 1,248 points, averaging in double figures in scoring during each of her last three years, and she recorded 188 assists over her final three seasons.

In 1981, Gomez graduated with a B.S. degree in physical education. After two years teaching and coaching at Melrose High School, she has been in the Portales district.
Gomez, who is married to PHS athletic director Don Gomez, has led the Lady Rams to Class 3A state basketball championships in 1991, 2001, 2003 and 2004.

“It’s been a great (school) system and a great town,” she said. “I thought Eastern was a great college. (Longtime ENMU women’s coach Wayne) Moore has been a great help to me over the years.”

• Calhoun, a retired Air Force colonel, played football for ENMU from 1948-50, helping the Hounds win their first New Mexico Athletic Conference title in 1950 while earning second-team All-NMAC recognition.
He enlisted in the Air Force in December 1950, serving in the Korean War in 1954 and going on six tours of duty in southeast Asia from 1968-75. Calhoun returned to earn a B.A. degree in education.

After retiring from the Air Force, he worked for American Airlines and McDonnell-Douglas.

• Elder has been an ENMU faculty member since 1969 and was the school’s faculty athletic representative from 1991-2004. He graduated from Eastern in 1964 with a B.S. degree in mathematics and received an M.A. degree two years later.

Elder chaired Eastern’s Department of Mathematical Sciences from 1981-97 and has been the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since April 1997.

l Hamilton played strong safety for the Hounds from 1993-95, earning first-team All-Lone Star Conference and NCAA Division II All-American honors the last two seasons. He was drafted by the New York Giants and spent three seasons there before finishing his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2001.

• Haynie played offensive and defensive tackle at ENMU from 1938-41, earning All-NMAC honors his last two seasons. After receiving a B.A. degree in Science and Education at Eastern in 1942, he taught briefly in Loving and then spent 22 years in the school district at Borger, Texas.
Haynie served as Superintendent of Schools in Portales fro m1964-69, then moved on to the University of Texas from 1969-80.

• Sparks was an outside hitter on the ENMU volleyball team from 1988-91, earning All-LSC honorable mention in 1988 and 1989 and second-team honors in 1991.
She still holds the school’s career digs record (1,703), including 635 in 1989. Sparks also recorded 393 total blocks, 934 kills and 98 service aces at ENMU, all ranking fifth or sixth all-time at the school. She earned a B.S. degree in communication in 1992, and is currently a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym.