The New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday ushered in a bumper crop of seven new inductees.
Their ranks include three Albuquerque high school coaching legends, an all-time great UNM basketball player, a longtime major leaguer from Carlsbad, a world champion barrel racer from Clayton and a former Lobo football coach who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
• Frank Castillo, the highly successful boys basketball coach at La Cueva;
• Danny Granger, who starred for the Lobos from 2003-05 before going on to an all-star career in the NBA;
• Charmayne James-Garritano, the barrel racing wunderkind from Clayton who went on to dominate her rodeo event for more than a decade;
• Jim Johns, recently retired after a legendary career as the baseball coach at Eldorado;
• Adam Kedge, the outstanding track and cross country coach at Albuquerque Academy;
• Marv Levy, who coached the Lobos to back-to-back 7-3 seasons in the 1950s and later took the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls;
• Cody Ross, the former Carlsbad High baseball star who played 12 years in the
major leagues and won a world championship with the San Francisco Giants in 2010.
Castillo, James-Garritano, Kedge and Johns attended a Saturday morning news conference at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Granger, Levy and Ross were unable to attend.
Castillo, the only boys basketball coach La Cueva has ever had, ranks among the state’s all-time leaders in wins (676) and games coached (1,017). His teams have won five state titles and finished as runners-up six times.
Coaching for 39 years, Castillo said, has been its own reward.
“It’s not so much the wins and the losses, or the state championships or the state runner-ups or whatever they may be,” he said. “I think it’s a chance to be a good teacher and watch the kids learn, and see how they give back to the community in Albuquerque and around the country.”
Granger, a 6-foot-8 forward, led the Lobos in scoring and rebounding during his two
seasons at UNM. He played 10 seasons and 622 games in the NBA, most of them for the Indiana Pacers, and was an NBA All-Star in 2009.
James-Garritano won her first world barrel racing title in 1984 at the age of 14 and remained at the top her entire career.
Just as Castillo, Johns and Kedge thanked their players, James was quick to thank her horse, Scamper.
“Everybody said, ‘Gosh, Charmayne never would have done it without Scamper,'” she said. “And I wouldn’t have.”
But James also won a world title riding Scamper’s successor, Cruiser.
In 29 years as Eldorado’s head baseball coach, Johns guided the Eagles to seven state titles and 18 district championships.
“We’re in the kid business,” Johns said. “That’s why we do what we do. When we keep that in perspective, then normally we’re gonna make good decisions that are gonna help the kids.
“And along the way, we’ll win a few ballgames.”
Kedge’s Academy teams have won 25 state titles during his 20 years there. He has been named the state’s cross country coach of the year eight times.
He cited two previous NMSHOF inductees, track/cross country coaches Matt Henry and Curtis Williams, for setting a standard he has attempted to meet.
“Any successful track and cross country program in New Mexico has been modeled after Curtis Williams’ work and after Matt Henry’s work,” he said.
Levy was the Skyline Conference Coach of the Year in both of his seasons (1958-59)
as UNM’s coach. Later, he went 123-80 during his tenure with the Bills and won four consecutive AFC championships en route to Super Bowls XXV through XVIII.
Ross, a 1999 Carlsbad graduate, was the National League Championship Series MVP with the Giants en route to their victory over Texas in the World Series.