Eric Chavez is the head boys soccer coach at Los Lunas High School. He lives in Albuquerque. His family are Lucy Chavez, Marie Chavez, Erika Chavez, Andreanna Chavez, Jason Chavez, Jordan Chavez and Benny Sedillo.
Q What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
A “I think about different opportunities that I have in my career. I love everything about being a high school coach, but I often ask myself if I’m working up to my full potential? When would be a good time to pull my master’s degree out of my back pocket?”
Q What was the last gift you gave someone?
A “The last gift I gave someone was a Starbucks gift card.”
Q What were you like in high school?
A “I was an outgoing, multi-sport athlete.”
Q What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
A “As the gym master at LLMS, I recently asked an obnoxious fan to leave. After the game, we both ended up at the Dion’s location in the South Valley. He was in front of me in line with his daughter and wife. He turned and said, ‘What, are you stalking me now?’
“I said, ‘We just really need you to know that your behavior is a really serious infraction.’
“We both started laughing! That was a weird coincidence.”
Q What did you want to be when you grew up?
A “I wanted to play in MLB.”
Q Who inspires you?
A “Michael Jordan, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eminem … Anybody that possesses the will and drive to be successful.”
Q What is your birth order in your family, and do you think it influences who you are?
A “I’m the baby of the family. I have two older sisters. No influence.”
Q What do you do in your free time?
A “I’m a moviegoer and play golf.”
Q What’s the most interesting thing about you?
A “I’m a huge history buff.”
Q If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A “I’d be a lion! He’s the King of the Jungle!”
Q You find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million, what would you do?
A “I’d return it to the rightful owner…Ha Ha! No, I’d probably do something good with it, like donate it to a worthy cause. I’ve always felt that the super rich don’t do enough to help the less fortunate.”
Q Who is your best friend and why?
A “I don’t have a best friend, just many good acquaintances.”
Q What’s your favorite song to sing when you’re alone?
A “When I’m alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall. And in the back of my mind, I hear my conscious call … telling me I need a girl whose as sweet as a dove. For the first time in my life, I see I need love. There I was, giggling about the game that I have played with many hearts and I’m not saying no names.
“Then the thought occurred tear drops made my eyes burn, because I said to myself, ‘Look what you’ve done to her.’ I can feel it inside. I can’t explain how it feels. All I know is that I’m never dishing up the raw deal.
“Playing make believe, pretending that I’m true. Holding in my laugh as I say that I love you. Say it no more, kissing you on the ear. Whispering I love you and I’ll always be here. But, when I often reminisce, I can’t believe that I found, a desire for true love floating around.
“Inside my soul, though my soul is cold, one half of me deserves to be this way til’ I’m old. But the other half needs affection and joy. And the love that is created by a girl and a boy. I need love.”
“That’s the old LL Cool J stuff from 1987. I don’t have a favorite song. I love music so it’s always something different.”
Q Where is your happy place, and why?
A “I like going to my mom’s house in the South Valley. Every time I visit, I have to take the long route. It brings back a lot of good memories from my youth. Of course, I’m referring to a time when kids actually played outside.
“I also find happiness in having time to myself. I have the opportunity to think and reflect on life. Many refer to this as meditation.”
Q Have you had a life-changing experience that led you to where you are today?
A “No. I just played for some really good coaches that focused more on life lessons through sport before the winning. That’s the type of philosophy I incorporate into my soccer program. It’s nice to win.
“Don’t get me wrong. I mean, we are fresh off winning a state championship in soccer! We train very hard not only to win but to be successful off the pitch as well. The discipline, social and teamwork skills being instilled in my players will influence them to be good people and find personal success once they’ve graduated.
“I love to see former players come back and visit. It’s nice to see how they’re doing and it let’s me know that I’ve created a nice, comfortable, yet competitive, atmosphere.”
Q What teacher had the greatest impact on you?
A “The teacher that impacted me most was Thomas Gilbride. He was my 11th grade social studies teacher at Rio Grande High School. His brother was the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants at the time.
“He really cared a lot about his students and that was a positive glow in many of their lives. He would always show my class work to my coaches. That pushed me to do better and earn higher grades. I earned an academic letter in high school, and he was a big reason why this happened.
“Just one of those people who make the world a better place. I was devastated when I heard he had passed away suddenly from a heart attack in 2002.”
Q If you could live in any other time, when might that be and why?
A “I would love to revisit the Medieval time period. As a history buff, I’ve always been intrigued by the Middle Ages and their way of life, castles, knights, etc.”
Q If you could have dinner with one famous person from history, who would it be?
A “I’d like to meet and have dinner with the “Sultan of Swat.” I’d ask him about his philosophy of hitting.”
Q What are you most proud of?
A “I am extremely proud of my team winning the state championship, being ranked No.1 overall in the state (regardless of class), as well as being ranked 16th in the country, according to MaxPreps.com!
“We made history this year! It was an exciting time and I’m happy my players were able to make the memories they did playing together through it all.”
Q How would you like to be remembered?
A “I want to be remembered as that coach that made his players believe in themselves, and taught them that anything is possible as long as you are willing to work hard and not give up! In the state tournament, we beat the No. 1 seed two years in a row, coming from behind to win (2018 St. Pius 2-1 in quarter finals, 2019 Albuquerque Academy 2-1 in semi finals).
“In the 2019 state title game, we played almost the entire second half a man down due to a red card. We beat Los Alamos 2-1 to capture the 2019 state championship. Talk about eerie — notice the scores.”
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