Ron Geyer felt the time had come when he resigned Monday as head coach of St. Michael's boy's basketball, winding up 38-years after winning three state titles
Geyer joins resigning Lady Horsemen head coach Martin Romero as the school now has two vacancies to fill
By ARNIE LESHIN
School principle Sam Govea made the call not long after the fourth period began Monday afternoon at St. Michael's.
The announcement over the PA was short, directed to the boy's basketball team players that they were to report to the Shelley-Perez gymnasium. No clue, no game to play, just gathering to hear from long-time head coach Ron Geyer that he was resigning from the position.
"I got real emotional," Geyer later said. "I had coached so long, I felt it was now time to reign so that the school would get the opportunity to bring in a coach who can run the program the way it needs to be run."
Now 63 and very devoted to a program in which he won three state championships, all over a Jim Murphy-coached Albuquerque Hope Christian program that had been top of the heap in 3A and 4A since 2009, when it won its first state.
The Huskies recruited well, they had the size, but Geyer found ways to interfere. In 2006, he followed up three state titles won at Alamogordo, by going 27-4 and routing Grants, 59-37, at the Pit. The following season, he met up with Hope Christian in the final and prevailed 64-47 in a 27-4 campaign.
Then came the run by the Huskies. They hoisted the blue trophy three-straight times from 2009 until 2011, but along came Geyer again in 2012, and he not only snapped previously undefeated Hope's streak at 26, but pulled out a 32-31 tense victory.
From there, Hope Christian went on to claim the next five championships, turning back St. Michael' twice as the schools matched up in five of the finals.
But no one else could tame the Huskies like Geyer could.
He will remain as an assistant principle at the school. No doubt he will do as much as he can to assist a new head coach and his staff.
"We've got some talented kids coming back," he said.
With the school's athletic director, Tom Manning, still home recovering from a brutal knee injury after yet another surgery, this follows the recent resignation from girl's head coach Martin Romero after 11 years on the job.
Whereas Geyer made it a habit to gain the state tournament and to play at the now WisePies Arena, aka the Pit, Romero is the only one to get the girl's program to the Pit, the only one to have it play for the state team that ended in a loss to Pojoaque Valley, 46-39, in 2008.
But it's been a much longer run for Geyer. It's been 38 stellar years of running the show at Ruidoso, Deming, Alamogordo, Los Lunas before heading north to guide the Horsemen in 2006.
At the recent state championships, Geyer stood alongside his former 1991 and 1992 state-championship Alamogordo players and coaches at center court of the Pit. He also won another at the school in 1997.
But he often said he wasn't coaching for state championships, his goal was to put together good programs, teach the game, being with players who learned, and with a good staff who contributed to the success he brought.
Then there's his family who supported him. His son, Erik, was a 6-foot-2 talented player, the best on his dad's team. Injuries kept him from going on to play college ball.
Geyer's teams were efficient on offense, but he specialized in his defense, always switching, always trying to keep the score down, always coaching no matter the score.
His final game almost brought him a huge upset. With 6-1 senior starter Luke Archuleta reduced to a cheerleader when he broke a foot during that week's practice at state-tournament time, he sent his short but smart No. 6th seeds against 2nd seeded Portales in the 4A quarterfinals at Rio Rancho's Santa Ana Star Center.
If not for a unnecessary foul called against the Horsemen with two seconds left and the score tied at 47-all, the two free throws were converted and it resulted in yet another setback in which the boys of Geyer hung around long enough, only to fall short in a remarkable, courageous performance.
The Rams had the size and the will to advance, but the Horsemen came to play, typical of a Geyer team. His final record was all even at 15-15, but there were a bundle of close contests that included four-straight defeats by a total of nine points during the stretch run of the regular season.
No doubt Geyer would have wanted to gain the semifinals at the Pit, but his kids certainly came close to getting him there with their gut and desire.
He went 253-113 with St. Michael's, made it to the state finals six times, had six 20-win seasons and four more with at least 18.
In his first two years at Alamogordo, he won state titles. He did the same in his first two seasons at St. Michael's. Big footsteps to follow, sure, but at least Geyer isn't leaving the campus.
Will he be attending boy's basketball games? That's his choice, for now he finally gets time off to be with his family, his wife, Cindy, daughters Aimee and Heidi, and sons Erik and Wesley.
The search is on to find successors to Geyer and Romero. The school, in fact, will be posting the boy's vacancy today, one week after Romero's was posted. The two were fixtures at St. Michael's for more than a decade, but the games will still be played even as time brings changes.