Leroy Barela may be new to Eldorado, but the Eagles are far from an unknown.
“For myself,” said Barela, named Monday as Eldorado’s new head girls basketball coach, “growing up here and knowing basketball, you know Eldorado has a tradition and a mystique that goes along with it.”
The 45-year-old Barela, who has previously been a head girls coach at Pecos and Robertson, takes over Eldorado from Rich Harbin, who recently resigned after coaching the Eagles the past two seasons.
And Barela’s hiring will have a ripple effect, in particular for the Class 5A state champions.
Barels’s daughter Cece, who was a standout sophomore guard for West Mesa and who played extremely well in the playoffs — in particular in the Mustangs’ overtime semifinal victory over Piedra Vista — will be leaving the Mustangs to join her father at Eldorado.
Cece started for her father as an eighth grader at Robertson, where Barela was the coach for four seasons before the family moved to Albuquerque.
“Just being able to interview at Eldorado was huge,” Barela said. “This is an opportunity most people can only dream of. To be able to land a job like this is beyond exciting.”
Eldorado finished 9-17 last season and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Piedra Vista.
“You want to come in, and do right by the program,” Barela said. “You have to come in with the right attitude, a work ethic that is second to none, and you have to bottle that.
“This is a great opportunity to come in and bring the style of basketball that I like, and start to build something we can all be proud of.”
Barela joins a fresh list of new girls head coaches for the 2019-20 season. That list includes: David Medina, who has left Del Norte for Hope Christian; Brio Rode, who is the new hire at St. Pius; and Chris Storey, who is taking over at Belen.