Apparently, Belen High School Athletic Director Danny Griego doesn’t hold a grudge. Otherwise he wouldn’t have allowed the Belen School Board to approve Peter Gurule as the Lady Eagles new girls softball coach, as it did last week.
Gurule was a star athlete at Los Lunas High School at the same time Griego was playing for the Eagles. “He was quite an athlete — an awesome athlete,” Griego said of Gurule. “I believe it was the year they won the state championship, they beat us by one dog gone run, one to nothing. And we had a pretty awesome team ourselves.”
Gurule was in town early this week but could not be reached to be asked his recollections of the game.
A decade later, Gurule returned to the Tiger baseball program as head coach. In five seasons, from 1980 to 1984, he led the Tigers to a 75-37 overall record and four state playoff appearances. The Tigers lost in the semifinals twice and made it to the Class 3A state championship in 1983, where they lost to St. Pius X, 3-2.
Gurule later went on to coach baseball at Las Cruces Mayfield for more than a decade, once taking the Trojans to a state final.
Griego said Gurule retired from coaching and teaching for a few years but returned to coaching softball at Canutillo High School near El Paso. He was living in Las Cruces when he was hired and was in the process of moving early this week.
“He is familiar with the valley and was very interested in coming back to this area,” Griego said.
Gurule replaces Nettie Salas as the Lady Eagle softball coach. Because of a change in the athletic handbook (see story at right), Salas, who was also head coach of the girls soccer team, had to abandon head coaching duties for one of the sports and chose to keep coaching soccer.
The Lady Eagles were 20-22 the last two seasons under Salas, finishing 8-13 this past season. Griego said Gurule has the credentials to make the Lady Eagles competitive in district and state.
“His experience is something we could not overlook,” Griego said. “He’s been successful at Los Lunas, he was successful at Mayfield and he was successful in Canutillo. So we hope he will be successful here.”
Gurule was also hired to teach science at the high school.