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          Front Page




Kubala Is New Girls' Hoops Coach at Sandia

By Ken Sickenger
Journal Staff Writer
    Susan Kubala says she's not usually an emotional person, but the past few days have been an exception.
    Thursday, Kubala was hired as the new girls basketball coach at Sandia High School. She then had to step down from her nine-year post as Del Norte's girls coach.
    "Meeting with the team at Del Norte was a little emotional," Kubala said Friday. "About half the people were happy and half were mad. I guess that's normal.
    "My feelings are a little mixed, too. There's a little unfinished business at Del Norte, but I'm very excited for a new opportunity at Sandia."
    The program Kubala inherits at Sandia consistently has been among the state's best in recent years. The Matadors won a District 2-5A title last season and have reached postseason play for each of the past seven years. They won a state championship in 2001.
    Sandia's coaching position came open in April, when Mark Daniels resigned in response to an anonymous letter criticizing both his coaching methods and his family.
    A number of talented players are set to return to the Matadors next fall, and expectations will be high. Such was not the case when Kubala took over Del Norte's struggling program, and the tough times continued there for her several seasons.
    The Knights won just one game as recently as 1998-99, but things have improved since then. Kubala's overall record at Del Norte was 69-142, but it's 50-46 over the past four seasons.
    "I left the program in a much better spot than when I got it," Kubala said. "But I told the girls at our meeting, one of the reasons I was able to get the Sandia job is because the kids worked so hard and improved the program. I owe a lot to them."
    Sandia has not yet named a new boys basketball coach, and Del Norte will now seek a replacement for Kubala. Del Norte athletic director Ron Warren said applicants should direct letters of interest to principal Becky Almeter. For more information, Almeter can be reached at 883-7222 ext. 101.