by Mike Magers
Volleyball coach and teacher Flo Valdez was born and raised in Roswell, New Mexico, graduating from Roswell High School in 1963. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1967 from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas and a Master’s Degree in 1975 from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.
Coach Valdez began teaching in Tatum High School in Tatum, New Mexico in 1976 where she taught PE and first coached volleyball, basketball, track and softball. She then moved to Hobbs where she briefly taught at Mesa Middle School before moving to Hobbs High School, again coaching multiple sports. In 1974, she returned to her old school, Roswell High. She would remain there for the next 22 years, where her teams would earn three state championships out of seven trips to the final game. Her teams would win fourteen district championships in volleyball, two in basketball along with one state basketball championship.
Coach Flo Valdez was teaching in New Mexico just as girls’ athletics began to boom and be recognized in the state. This was about the time that Title IX was enacted which, among other provisions, provided that girls programs not be discriminated against. While teaching in New Mexico, she was acknowledged by being named to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 1996. She also served as a board member, officer and President of the National Federation of Interscholastic Coaches Association. Also during this period, she served on the player selection committee for the United States Olympic Volleyball Team.
In 1996, she left the state to take a position in El Paso, Texas at Franklin High School where she currently serves. Her coaching career and administrative duties have continued to be recognized there, while she has served as varsity volleyball coach, chair of the Health and Physical Education Department, Athletic Coordinator and represented Region 8 as a director in the Texas Girls Coaches Association. Her honors have also included being named Region 8 Coach of the Year, El Paso Times Coach of the Year four times, Southwest Volleyball Coach of the year and National Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2001 by the National Federation of High School Coaches Association.
As of this date, Coach Valdez’s teams have won over 900 games, and she is still coaching at Franklin. Though never having played competitive volleyball herself, her leadership has been widely acclaimed. She was named to the El Paso Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010 and in 2016, she was named to the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame.
This tribute to Coach Valdez was posted in October, 2016. Her teams have now won over 1,000 games.