by Mike Magers
Henry Sanchez was a well-known boy’s basketball coach in New Mexico. His coaching career included stops at Our Lady of Sorrows in Bernalillo, Bernalillo High School and Robertson High School in Las Vegas. He would go on to amass an enviable record of 542 wins against 240 losses. This places him at 10th on the all time wins list behind Ralph Tasker, Pete Shock, Marv Sanders, Russ Gilmore, Jim Murphy, Frank Castillo, Jim Hulsman, Keith Kuipers and Alfred Romero.
Sanchez graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Albuquerque (no longer in existence) and played basketball at College of St. Joseph (which later became University of Albuquerque and is also no longer in existence) where he was an NAIA All-American in 1959. He earned his Masters degree at University of New Mexico. Sanchez began coaching at Our Lady of Sorrows in its 1960 season and remained there for five seasons where his teams reached the playoffs three years. Our Lady of Sorrows was Bernalillo’s only high school for many years until Bernalillo High School was built in the 1950s. He then moved to Bernalillo High School where he would remain for 18 years, from 1965 to 1983. At Bernalillo, his teams reached the playoffs seven times, played in the final game five times and won the state championship twice. It was during this period that Coach Sanchez was named Coach of the Year three times. Coach Sanchez then moved to New Mexico Highlands for 13 years before returning to the high school ranks at Robertson High School from 1996 to 2001.
During his retirement years, Coach Sanchez served three terms as mayor of Las Vegas and also taught sports performance at Luna Community College. Sanchez passed away at the age of 74 in 2011.
His long list of honors include being named to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 1988, the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in 2013, the National High School Athletic Coaches Association hall of Fame and the New Mexico Highlands Hall of Honor. He was named the National High School Coach of the Year in 2001 and New Mexico Coach of the Year a total of eight times.
Coach Sanchez passed away on February 14, 2014.