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Yvonne Sanchez enjoys classroom job, but might coach again

Yvonne Sanchez’s coaching career is on hold, but she did not spend much time out of work.

Sanchez, who was fired as University of New Mexico women’s basketball coach in March, returned to her high school alma mater, Eldorado, as an educational assistant in April. She completed the school year Tuesday and said she currently plans to continue in her role when the fall semester begins in August.

“I’m working with autistic kids, and I’ve really, really enjoyed it,” Sanchez said. “I actually had to help some with elementary math, which is about the limit of my math skills, but I’m thankful for the opportunity. It’s been great.”

Sanchez spent 16 years coaching women’s basketball at UNM, the last five as head coach, before being dismissed after the 2015-16 season. Athletic director Paul Krebs said in March that Sanchez would receive a $150,000 buyout in monthly installments over the coming year that will be terminated if she accepts a job in athletics.

Sanchez said she has since been approached about coaching opportunities outside New Mexico but has not pursued them.

Prior to her tenure at UNM, Sanchez spent six years as an assistant coach at New Mexico State University. She needs two more years of service with New Mexico schools to qualify for retirement through the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board.

Sanchez’s name surfaced as a potential candidate during Eldorado’s recent girls basketball coaching search, but she was not eligible to apply for the position because she is not a certified teacher. However, Sanchez has not officially hung up her coaching whistle.

“I definitely wouldn’t say that,” Sanchez said. “You never know what the future might hold.”