In the fall, the Rattlers are expected to have a new football coach calling the plays.
Rattlers football coach Dub Smith's contract was not renewed for the 2008-2009 school year, said athletic director Wayne Ferguson.
Smith, who led the Rattlers to the Class 2A title in 2002, has been head football coach for the past 10 years and teaches physical education at the Tucumcari Middle School.
“Basically, I was fired," Smith said. "I wasn’t given a reason.”
Last year, the Rattlers were 0-2-0 in district play, and 5-6-0 overall before being eliminated in the 2A semifinals.
"After looking at the programs, we're taking a new direction athletically," said Tucumcari Schools Superintendent Aaron McKinney.
"Coach Smith is a wonderful person," McKinney said. "We appreciate all he's done for the football team and for the athletic program. He's taken the Rattlers to a state championship and to the finals several times. This change does not affect his teaching at the middle school at all."
Smith said he enjoyed his time coaching the Rattlers, and appreciated the work of the coaching staff, the young men on the teams, parents and booster clubs that have supported the Rattlers.
Last week, an advertisement seeking a head football coach for Tucumcari to begin the fall season was placed in the classified section of the New Mexico Activities Association Web site.
"I don't think it's a good decision," said Drew White, a former Rattler, who played on the Rattlers’ 2006-2007 team. "He was very successful. He did a lot for the football program. We went to state this year and last year. All the kids liked him. He worked us hard, and he was easy to get along with."
“It’s been a great ride,” Smith said.
“It’s happened," Smith said. "I'll look forward, I’m not going to look back."
In six of Smith’s 10 football seasons as coach, Smith said, “We’ve been knocking at the door” of a state championship.
Smith said he has emphasized the classroom over the game. He had instituted a study hall in 1999 for players who were having difficulty in their studies.
“Football builds character,” Smith said, adding the skills learned in the game will serve the young men well after high school.
Before joining the Tucumcari coaching staff, Smith had taught and coached, mostly in schools in Texas, including 15 years in Marble Falls, as well as at Pecos, Lubbock, both in public and private schools, and Alpine, Smith said.
Asked if he would pursue another coaching job, Smith said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”