New Mexico Military Institute

by Mike Magers

New Mexico Military Institute, or NMMI, was founded in 1891 by Col. Robert Goss and Capt. Joseph C. Lea and was initially known as Goss Military Academy.  New Mexico had been organized as a territory of the United States under the bill known as the Great Compromise of 1850.  Under the bill, California was admitted to the Union, New Mexico and Utah were created as territories out of land gained in the Mexican War (1846-1848), these territories were allowed sovereignty in voting for or against slavery, the boundary between Texas and New Mexico was established and it made it easier for residents of so-called slave states to recover fugitive slaves.  The subject of slavery was hotly debated and this bill was the compromise reached by members of the U. S. Congress.

The young military school was officially established under Chapter XLI of C.B. No. 108 on February 23, 1893 that had been introduced by a Mr. Fall “to establish, maintain and control the New Mexico military institute in Roswell, New Mexico” by the committee on territorial and charitable institutions.  The school still sits on land donated to it by local rancher James J. Hagerman for whom the town of Hagerman, New Mexico is named.

In the summer of 1894, the Institute received a land grand of 100,000 acres as part of a group of land grants made for a variety of purposes.  The Institute at that time consisted of mainly one building and in 1897, the Carlsbad Current reported that work on this building was progressing nicely with the basement having been completed and walls first going up above ground.  Also that year, the Roswell Register reported that a two story hotel would be erected once the Institute’s building (see drawing below) was completed.  We believe that this was old Lea Hall, which was demolished to make way for the current Lea Hall around 1940.


(Image credit: Santa Fe New Mexican)

NMMI serves as a college preparatory school and a junior college with students ranging from grades 9-12 in high school and two years  of junior college.  It briefly served as a four year college from around 1948 to 1956, but that was discontinued.  Numerous former cadets have served in the U. S. military since World War I.  Its alumni includes at least one Medal of Honor recipient.  It became a coed institution in 1977 after allowing females to attend on a non cadet status as far back as 1891.  The mascots of the high school and junior college are the Colts and the Broncos, respectively.

Its enrollment more recently has hovered at around 900 to 1,000 students.  Alumni of note include hotelier Conrad Hilton, businessman Norman Brinker, journalist Sam Donaldson, General Edwin Walker of the U. S. Army, Lieutenant General of the U. S. Army Julian Ewell, numerous athletes including Roger Staubach, Wilson Alvarez, Link Abrams and Greg Morris, actor Owen Wilson, Medal of Honor recipient John C. Morgan and many others.

NMMI is one of three military schools in New Mexico.  The others are Bataan Military Institute and Española Military Institute.

Its recent head high school football coaches have included David Lynn, Major Dwight Burns and the current head coach, Randy Montoya.  NMMI won Class A State Championships in 1963 and 1965 in football under head coach Marshall Brown.

School Names: Belen

The town of Belen (now in Valencia County) is one of the oldest in New Mexico having been founded around 1740 by Spanish colonists.  It is far from being the actual oldest behind Acoma and Taos Pueblo from around 1000, Zuni from around 1450, Santa Fe from 1607 and Albuquerque from 1706.  Its original name was Nuestra Señora de Belén, which is translated Our Lady of Bethlehem and was originally founded under a Spanish land grant.

Read More »

Robin Cole, NFL

by Mike Magers


(image credit:

Robin Cole was born in Los Angeles, California in 1955 and played football at University of New Mexico from 1973 to 1976.  At UNM, his career statistics rank highly in many categories.  The following are just a few of them.  In career tackles, his 406 tackles place him at 5th, just behind Brian Urlacher, his career sacks at 36 rank him second behind Johnny Jackson.  He is highly ranked in career fumble recoveries, career fumbles caused and also season records for most of these categories.

Read More »

School Names: Foothill

by Mike Magers


Foothill High School is unique among New Mexico schools in that all of its players are incarcerated juvenile offenders.  The school is managed jointly by the New Mexico Department of Education and the Children and the Youth and Families Department.  The student body is comprised of mostly males with some females.  It has a Parent Teacher Student Association made up of parents, teachers, guards and officials of the school.

Read More »