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Jaramillo steps down as Academy tennis coach

Ray Jaramillo

The state’s most dominant high school sports program has a coaching vacancy.

Ray Jaramillo had planned to coach the Albuquerque Academy boys tennis team through the 2020 season before stepping down, but the coronavirus has expedited his plans.

The 43-year-old Jaramillo became head coach in 2012. He had been targeting this year as his final season for some time, to coincide with the graduation of his daughter Isabella from the Academy.

“I always planned to coach until she graduated, and when she went off to college, my wife (Rokeya) and I would have more free time,” Jaramillo said Friday.

“But it ended weird.”

Jaramillo didn’t rule out the possibility that he might someday return to coaching, but he plans on a lengthy, if not permanent, separation.

Academy has won 17 consecutive state championships in boys tennis, including the last eight under Jaramillo. The 17 titles represent the longest current streak in the country for boys tennis, and third longest ever in the sport.

The Chargers dropped just two team dual matches in Jaramillo’s eight seasons as head coach, both to La Cueva, in 2013 and 2014.

Academy had won its two team matches, versus Hope Christian and Sandia, before this season was shut down by COVID-19 last month.

“I wish I would have gotten to coach this whole season, but it didn’t work out that way,” Jaramillo said. “It’s been really weird; I had four seniors on this team, and I’m disappointed for (them). Win or lose, they just wanted to play.”

MaxPreps.com recently selected Academy as the nation’s top boys tennis team from the previous decade, being the only school in the U.S. to win 10 state team titles from 2010-19.

And MaxPreps chose Jaramillo as the country’s top boys tennis coach from the previous decade.

Academy has had four head coaches during this run of 17 state titles in a row: Darrell Gage (2003-05), Tom Knoop (2006-08), Sean Hopkins (2009-12) and now Jaramillo, who was an assistant to Hopkins for three seasons before he was promoted to head coach. Academy is 198-2 over the last 11 seasons in team duals, Jaramillo said.

“It’s kind of crazy, it really is,” Jaramillo said of the program’s track record of dominance.

He was a national coach of the year finalist in 2017 and is again this year. The winner will be announced this summer.

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