By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent
As the new school year approaches, several coaches will get a shot at leading a Clovis High athletic squad.
Shane Leatherwood has been hired to be the new Clovis girls soccer coach, replacing Larry Jones. Dan Replogle, an assistant on the girls basketball team, will take over in boys tennis and both golf squads will have new head coaches: Cal Fullerton for the boys and Christy Hill for the girls.
Leatherwood, who graduated from CHS, will get the first shot at reviving a soccer team that only won three of its 19 games last year.
“That’s what we talked about. We need to get the program up to where it’s competitive, not only with the district but with the competition we already have on the schedule,” Clovis athletic director Brian Stacy said. “That’s what I talked to him about — what do we need to do to make that transition?”
In Clovis soccer history, one spot shines bright — the boys state championship in 1998. Leatherwood was on Wildcats’ team the year before, that won a district title — also a rarity at the school.
“He was an assistant last year and did a very good job,” Stacy said. “He’s very knowledgeable. He knows the game. He enjoys the game; he’s got a lot of energy. He’s constantly trying to learn new things.”
“I’m excited about it, I really am. Coaching girls in this town, you get a lot of athletes and they work hard,” Leatherwood said. “We’ve just got to get the basics down; we’ve always lacked the basics as far as passing and trapping. We’ll reinforce the fundamentals.”
Hill and Replogle will face similar program-building obstacles for teams with little in the way of recent success. On the other hand, Fullerton, the son of former Clovis A.D. Dale Fullerton, inherits a team that has been competitive on the state level.
“We want the programs to stay up there where golf has been, we just need to move the girls in the right direction,” Stacy said.
One more team has been added to the overall Clovis High athletic program, according to Stacy.
“We’re adding a C-team in girls basketball. With the number of kids we’ve had coming out lately, I talked to Coach (Miles) Watters about doing it, and we hired Gabe Apodaca to do that,” he said. “We have so many girls sitting, we’d at least get 12 more girls an opportunity to play.”
Another development Stacy is excited about for the upcoming year is the advent of a ticket package for all sports besides football. The Clovis AD estimated for $100 a family of five would gain access to all the other sports throughout the school year.
“We didn’t change anything for football — we left it alone. But we had 12 (different) family packages and individual packages and it was never user-friendly,” Stacy said. “We’re making it cheaper and more affordable for families to come to all the events. I’m looking forward to that, maybe getting some more butts in the seats.”