BLOOMFIELD — Fifty-two years of coachving has been worth every minute for John Gutierrez.
Gutierrez, who moved to Bloomfield in 1963 after growing up and attending school in Oklahoma, was recently named to the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his career of service in high school sports.
"It came as a surprise, but it really was a great honor to be with all those national coaches. It was a super experience," Gutierrez said of the award ceremony that was held June 26 in Des Moines, Iowa. "I had a lot of help getting there from players, parents, the school and the community of Bloomfield. They helped me a lot, and I think this is a community type honor."
Gutierrez joined Bloomfield High after a year of coaching in Schurz, Nevada. He then went to Estancia and was the head coach of the football and track and field teams while also serving as an assistant basketball coach.
Gutierrez returned to the Bobcats in 1966 and coached baseball, basketball, football track and wrestling. Gutierrez made his biggest mark on the baseball team, serving as a head coach for 36 years, 11 of them coming at Navajo Preparatory School.
After his 11 years at Navajo Prep, Gutierrez returned to Bloomfield in 2012, and served as the freshman football and baseball coach.
As a baseball coach, Gutierrez won 18 district titles and went to the state tournament 29 times. His career record as a head baseball coach stands at 581-262.
"I had a lot of good assistant coaches along the way," Gutierrez said. "I also had good players. The kids and their parents in Bloomfield have always worked hard. It was just great coaching them. I couldn't have picked a better career than teaching and coaching."
Gutierrez also participated in several all star games in New Mexico for both football and baseball.
In 1994 and 1996, Gutierrez was named the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year for baseball. He also was awarded the National Federation of Interscholastic Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 1994 and the Section Six Distinguished Service Award in 1996.
He is also a member of the 2012 hall of fame class in the New Mexico Baseball Coaches Hall of Honor.
Bloomfield High also named its baseball stadium in honor of Gutierrez, and kept the name when a new field was built.
Gutierrez said his success wouldn't have been possible without the support of his wife Carolyn and his two sons, John and Mike.
"My family has done a super job. They have supported me through all the years. My wife teaches and both of my boys have coached at one time, too," Gutierrez said. "It has been a great experience with them through all the years."
Gutierrez is happy his grandchildren and great grandchildren will always be able to view his accomplishments alongside all of the other national hall of fame coaches.
After 52 years, Gutierrez isn't quite done. He plans on staying on with Bloomfield to coach freshman baseball and football again this coming school year.
"As long as my health holds out, I will be back and help out the best I can," he said.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.