by Mike Magers
Last month, Clovis High School‘s Eric Roanhaus resigned as head football coach of the Wildcats, ending a 44 year run as a coach for the school district, 39 of which he served as head coach. Coach Roanhaus said that he had been blessed to serve with his fellow coaches, program supporters and parents of his students over this term. Coach Roanhaus will remain in Clovis and is not retiring from the school district. At age 69, he said that he plans to return to teaching at some level.
Under his leadership, the Wildcats have won 10 state championships, including back to back seasons from 1981 to 1985. He has led his teams to 343 wins, the most career wins of any coach in the state, surpassing some fine coaches and well respected colleagues along the way. The other coaches on the all time win list are a virtual “who’s who” in New Mexico high school football: Jim Bradley, Bill Gentry, Cooper Henderson and Travis Lee. Although anything is possible, Roanhaus’ career win record will not be challenged any time soon.
His career record is 343-141-5, which includes 62 post season playoff wins. In addition to the 10 state championship wins, his teams reached the finals a total of 19 times, an average of about every other year of his tenure.
Roanhaus’ honors include being inducted into the 2015 class of the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame. He has received recognition from his peers by being named to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 1995. He was named Coach of the Year three times by the same organization.
Hank Baskett is the only known former player of his to go on to the NFL, but numerous players have gone on to play college football. A number of his former students, players and assistant coaches are either coaching or otherwise involved in athletics including Cleveland head coach Heath Ridenour, numerous assistant coaches and a half dozen coaches on the recent Clovis teams. The legacy of his “coaching tree” will be a long and considerable one.