Roanhaus family prepares for big Saturday

By Pete Herrera: The Associated Press

Chad Roanhaus had it all figured out. He’d go to college, get a degree in finance and make a lot of money.

Then his roots and his pedigree stepped in.

Roanhaus majored in finance with a minor in accounting at New Mexico Highlands, but he’s never used his degree in those areas. Instead of spread sheets, he works with X’s and O’s as the head football coach at Robertson High School.

You might say he’s just carrying on the family tradition.

Roanhaus, 30, is the son of longtime Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus. On Saturday, they’ll both be trying to win a state championship.

Eric Roanhaus’ Wildcats (12-1) face Mayfield (13-0) in the 5A title game in Las Cruces, while 450 miles to the north in Las Vegas, N.M., the Robertson Cardinals (12-1) meet Lovington (9-4) in the 3A championship game.

Clovis will be going for its 14th football championship. Robertson has never won one and will face a Lovington program with 15 titles.

Chad Roanhaus, a quarterback, played for his dad for three years at Clovis, then played four seasons at New Mexico Highlands. His plans to pursue a career in business changed after he spent a year as a graduate assistant with the Highlands football team.

“I grew up around dad and knew coaches and teachers don’t make a whole lot of money,” Roanhaus said in a telephone interview this week. “My first thought was I’m going to go get a degree in finance and make a whole lot of money. But the only thing that replaced the intensity, enthusiasm and emotional high you get from playing is coaching.”

Eric Roanhaus said: “He wasn’t going to be poor like his dad but then he was a (graduate assistant) at Highlands and he got the fever. It was done. It’s like when you find the girl of your dreams.”

Considering where he grew up, it figured that Chad Roanhaus was never going to be too far from the sidelines. Football is to Clovis what baseball is to the New York Yankees. Ten of the Wildcats’ 13 titles have come under Eric Roanhaus, the head coach since 1978.

“Since he was a kid, he’s always asked a lot of questions,” Eric Roanhaus said. “When he was in fourth grade, he was our waterboy. He’d sit in the back of the locker room and watch us go over offensive plays. He’s always had a mind for the game.”

Chad Roanhaus was a sophomore on the Clovis team that won the 1991 4A title with a 13-10 double overtime win over Eldorado. It remains one of his fondest memories.

“We celebrated for an hour and a half on that field,” he said.
Chad Roanhaus and his father talk two or three times a week. Usually, it’s the young coach tapping into his dad’s three decades of experience.

“If I have any questions, offensively or defensively, how to run my program, I call him,” Chad Roanhaus said. “He’s been doing it since the dark ages and he’s always got an answer. Even if I don’t like the answer, he’s going to give it to me.”

When Chad Roanhaus got the Robertson job in 2003, he hired his younger brother John as an assistant.

“I’m happy they’re having success at what they’re doing,” the elder Roanhaus said. “They’ve found a niche where they can be successful.”

Father and son both say they’ll be too busy Saturday to keep close tabs on how the other’s team is doing. But they’ll both be thinking about it.

“My favorite team is Robertson. My second favorite team is Clovis,” Chad Roanhaus said.