Notah Begay III

by Mike Magers

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Notah Begay III grew up on the San Felipe reservation in Sandoval County, located between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and is the grandson of a Navajo Code Talker of the same name. He is descended from the Fox Clan of the Navajo Nation. He attended high school at Albuquerque Academy and college at Stanford University.

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Many are familiar with Notah’s success on the golf course.  Fewer would know that while at Albuquerque Academy, he was a three sport athlete, playing golf, soccer and basketball.

Notah was a shooting guard on teams that twice won the State Championship.  The 1989 team went 20-7 and defeated Lovington 78-76 in the state championship final, also having beaten Goddard and Deming earlier in the playoffs.  In the final, the scoring was led by Greg Brown with 22 points.  Notah was 4-16 from the field, 4-6 at the free throw line for a total of 14 points and he had 1 assist in that game.  Above is the championship team photo.  Notah is pictured third from the right on the back row.

The win over Lovington marked the first of six straight state championships won by Academy between the years 1989 and 1994 under Head Coach Mike Brown.


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Academy’s 1990 team downed Oñate 80-61 in the final, also defeating Tucumcari and Socorro in the playoffs.  The 1990 team finished with a season record of 25-1.  In the final, scoring was again led by Greg Brown with 25 points.  Notah was 5-16 from the field for a total of 12 points and had 1 assist in that game.  Above is the championship team photo.  Notah is pictured second from the right on the back row.  [Team photos courtesy of Chuck Ferris of www.chuckferrissports.com.]

In high school golf, Notah was the individual A-AAA champion in 1989 and 1990 for Albuquerque Academy and led the school to the team A-AAA championship in 1990.


At Stanford, he was a three time All-American and a member of its 1994 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship Team before joining the PGA tour in 1995.  As a touring pro, Begay won 6 championships in his career, including 4 PGA tournaments, before being sidelined for a back injury.

Despite his various achievements in sports, Notah considers his Economics degree from Stanford to be his most important career accomplishment.  He  is currently active in the Notah Begay III Foundation, which he and his father founded in 2005.  The goal of the organization is to have a positive impact on the lives and well being of Native American youth in New Mexico and across Indian Country.

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