For Alvin Meadors, it was all about the kids.
Meadors, basketball star, coach, counselor and community leader, died on Sept. 30 after a long battle with cancer. He was 66.
“The things Alvin accomplished in the community were amazing, the work he did for kids,” said Ron Wallace, an Albuquerque publisher and community activist. “He gave a lot to the community for young people, who remember him fondly.”
On Wednesday, Marty Saiz and Ed Nuñez hosted a tribute to Meadors, their coaching friend and colleague, on the ProView Network.
Saiz coached AAU basketball with Meadors for some 13 years.
“The good Lord brings people to your life, crossed paths to your life,” Saiz said. “For some reason, He brought Alvin Meadors into my life in 2007.
“He’s the only guy in my whole life that I actually called brother. I have two brothers, real brothers, but (Meadors) is the only one I called brother.”
Meadors, born in Arkansas, came to Albuquerque with his mother — he never knew his father, Saiz said — and his siblings when he was 5. His mother had planned to take the family to California, Saiz said, but when Alvin got sick, she cut the trip short. The family settled in Albuquerque instead.
An honor student at Lincoln Junior High, Meadors went on to a sterling basketball career under coach Jim Hulsman at Albuquerque High. He played on the first of Hulsman’s seven state champions in 1971 and later would help the Bulldogs win more titles as an assistant coach.
He was inducted into the AHS Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
After two outstanding seasons at Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas, Meadors earned honorable-mention All-America honors at New Mexico Highlands, averaging almost 24 points per game as a senior.
Albuquerque’s Marty Watts, who played football at Highlands, was Meadors’ roommate at NMHU.
“We were the first black and white roommates ever at Highlands,” Watts said. “They’d never put a black guy with a white guy. They called us ‘Salt and Pepper.’
“He was a good basketball player, there’s no doubt about it. But I think he goes down as a great communicator in the black community.”
In 1976, Meadors was hired as director of the Thomas Bell Community Center in Albuquerque’s Kirtland Addition, close to the area where he grew up. He and Wallace, then director of the neighboring John Marshall Multi-Services Center, worked hand in hand.
“(Meadors) was their salvation down in that Thomas Bell community,” Wallace said. “He earned the respect of the gang kids so he could be effective in keeping the other kids safe.”
Just as Meadors became an Albuquerquean by accident, so began his AAU coaching career.
Saiz wanted to offer a position to former Albuquerque Bulldog and New Mexico Lobo Greg Brown and called Meadors — whom
he knew through their work together in the Albuquerque Youth Basketball League — trying to get Brown’s phone number.
“I wanted a coach who’d played college basketball,” Saiz said. “Alvin said, ‘I played at New Mexico Highlands, I was an All-American and I’d love to coach.’
“It was perfect timing. Everything just clicked.”
Meadors also coached age-group track and field and founded a golf program, “Hook a Kid on Golf,” aimed at low-income families. He worked at Jackson and James Monroe middle schools, Saiz said, often tasked with counseling difficult kids.
“He just had a way of dealing with kids, from the very wealthy to the very poor,” Saize said.
Meadors is survived by his wife, Annie; two daughters, Muriel (Bray) and Michaela, and a son, Renaldo. A son, Nathan, preceded him in death.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at God’s House Church, 2335 Wyoming NE.