Texico High School made three coaching changes for next year. And the school didn’t hire or fire anybody.
Mike Prokop, who coached the Wolverine football squad to three state championships and playoff appearances in all nine seasons, said he requested a drop to handle defensive coordinator duties for family reasons.
“It gives me a little bit more time,” Prokop said of the switch. “I don’t have to spend as much time preparing as defensive coordinator.”
Replacing Prokop will be Ryan Autrey, a 2001 Texico High graduate who has served as an assistant coach for the Wolverines. He’ll relinquish his duties as girls basketball coach after one year at the helm.
Replacing Autrey is Keith Durham, who coached the Lady Wolverines in back-to-back Class 2A titles in 2007 and 2008 before handing the squad over to Autrey.
“The only thing that changes,” he said, laughing, “is who has to take the blame for everything.”
Prokop, whose Wolverine teams won a pair of Class 1A titles, had an undefeated state title run in 2A last year, said he wants to spend more time with his family.
Both of Prokop’s parents are in their mid-80s — one is at a nursing home and one lives with his family — and he is their only child.
Prokop will continue as track coach, where the girls team won the 2A title despite his absence.
The New Mexico Activities Association postponed the small-school track championship due to some schools closing amid swine flu concerns, and Prokop had scheduled family events for the days the NMAA rescheduled the meet.
Durham, a former coach at Fort Lewis College and assistant at Clovis High School, Eastern New Mexico University and Boise State University, said he didn’t miss state championship opportunities so much as the everyday interactions and ups and downs of a basketball team.
“At a very early age, I knew I wanted to coach, especially basketball,” Durham said, “I feel fortunate I have the ability to get back into it.”
Durham said he might add an assistant coach to the fold in the near future, but isn’t sure where to put him yet. And while he’s hopeful former Eastern New Mexico University coach Shawn Scanlan can find a new job, he admits harboring some selfish hope he can keep Kristen Scanlan as volleyball and golf coach.
“Certainly we want what’s best for the Scanlans,” Durham said, “but we feel very fortunate to have Coach Scanlan as a coach and a teacher, and we’re fortunate to have their family at Texico.”
Efforts to contact Autrey on Tuesday night were unsuccessful.