In an effort to take the Los Lunas High School girls basketball program to the next level, the Los Lunas School Board approved the hiring of Ron Geyer as the Lady Tigers new head coach.
Geyer, 48, who coached the Alamogordo boys basketball team to three state championships in 11 seasons, was approved by a 5-0 vote at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday night.
“We’re very pleased to have him here,” said Los Lunas Athletic Director David Atencio. “I think his record speaks for itself.”
Geyer’s record is impressive. He’s been a head coach for 15 seasons at Alamogordo, Deming and Ruidoso, posting a 257-131 career record. His teams have made 11 state tournament appearances. His Alamogordo teams won state titles in 1991, 1992 and 1997 and were state runners-up in 1996 and 1998. They finished third in 1995, 2000 and 2001. He also led Deming to a third place trophy in 1989.
Geyer was selected as district coach of the year seven times. He was also picked as New Mexico coach of the year once.
All of Geyer’s coaching experience has been with boys, including seven years as an assistant. He said on Friday he had no qualms about coaching a girls team in Los Lunas.
“I’ve coached boys for 22 years,” he said. “At this point in my career, I just wanted to do something different, and I thought it was a good opportunity to do that in Los Lunas.”
Geyer said he considered other coaching opportunities but felt Los Lunas was the best fit.
“I like the community and like the fact that it is a one-school community,” he said, adding that such circumstances allow for people to rally behind their local high school. “I want to be here. I looked at several coaching jobs but felt this is the best opportunity for myself and my family. I had a wonderful 11 years (in Alamogordo), and I wanted to spend another 11 years somewhere else.”
Geyer, who will teach science at the high school, has been married to his wife, Cindy, for almost 21 years. They have four children — two boys and two girls — the eldest will be a sophomore and the youngest will enter the fifth grade. He said Cindy Geyer will teach at Los Lunas Elementary School.
Geyer, who met with Lady Tiger players Friday evening, said he will initially take a hands-off approach with the team, leaving it to coaches Pat Powers and Bryan Smith, who head an AAU team made up primarily of the Lady Tiger players, to handle coaching chores until his family purchases a home and moves to the community. He said he plans to watch the team compete in the New Mexico Games next week, but will remain an observer.
The coach said the Lady Tigers’ style of play next year will be dictated by personnel. But historically, his teams work the ball inside and put pressure on their opponents. Shot selection is an important ingredient, as is a sound, fundamental defense.
He said he will put an emphasis on building the program from the elementary school level on up. “We want to build the program from the ground up. Every level is important, that’s my philosophy,” he said.
Geyer did not coach last season. He was suspended by Alamogordo Schools Superintendent Phillip Knight on the eve of the season and placed on paid administrative leave. Alamogordo Schools officials would not comment on Geyer’s suspension, citing it as a personnel issue.
“They never gave me specific reason,” Geyer said. “The only thing they told me was that some parents complained that I put pressure on the kids.”
Geyer took his case to court, not to sue, he said, but to ask the court to grant a public hearing on the matter. The court ruled against him, saying he did not have the right to a public hearing since he was still getting paid.
Geyer was paid nearly $11,800 per year to coach basketball at Alamogordo. A personnel office worker with Los Lunas Schools said no salary had been set for the coaching job at the high school next year. Last year the position paid $4,410.
Geyer replaces Mike Jenrette as the Lady Tigers head coach. Jenrette coached the team for five seasons, compiling a 46-75 overall record. His teams posted back-to-back winning seasons before falling to 12-14 last season.