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Pete's Ponderings-February 2
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/10/2009

Ole Pete wants to tackle a topic that is as prickly as a desert cactus...the recruiting of local students to play for the Aggies. It’s a real ball of hooks for New Mexico State, whose coaches are making a good faith effort in football and all sports to recruit players who have Division I skills.

 

Sometimes a cowboy gets stuck in a box canyon with no easy way to ride out. Specifically, a consistent complaint from folks who say they are football fans is that they won’t support the football team until local players are a part of the mix. The implication is that all it would take for the turnstiles to spin and the stands to be full would be to add a Trojan, Knight or Bulldawg or two to the squad and the marketing problems are over. It’s a nice thought but is it true?

 

The Aggies gave their best sales pitch to two Las Cruces Bulldawgs recently, to get them to join football head coach DeWayne Walker’s vision for a better Aggie team. Both young men heard what the Aggies had to say but decided to look elsewhere for their college experience. That is how the recruiting game goes sometimes but it isn’t always that way for NM State. 

 

Look at the two basketball programs. Marvin Menzies has Gordo Castillo, the two-time state player of the year at Las Cruces HS and a lifelong resident of the Mesilla Valley. The gals have Mayfield alum Madison Spence on the court.  Both are playing regular roles for their respective teams. Has there membership on the teams led to record attendance? No. When the Aggies had Kelsey Crooks on the men’s squad, attendance didn’t spike upward either.

 

Volleyball head coach Mike Jordan had Krystal Torres on his team for the last four years. Attendance has been consistently strong for Jordan but Torres’ presence didn’t pack the Pan Am by any means.

 

I also would like to look at some of the reasons why local players have chosen to go elsewhere, like New Mexico. One reason has to be playing before great crowds on a consistent basis. That has a bit of irony attached to it does it not? There are local players who pass on the Aggies because local fans don’t come out in large enough numbers and fans stay at home because there aren’t local players on the football squad. 

 

Pete doesn’t see this as a chicken or the egg scenario. There needs to be great support for the program for it to prosper whether the roster has athletes from New Mexico or the Moon. You can’t blame Walker for not doing his best to keep the local talent at home. But you might want to think about what you could do as a fan to make this situation better.



‹ New Mexico State Aggie Athletics


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