Bloomfield High School’s football head coach Bruce Hatch talks with his team during their homecoming game against Miyamura on Oct. 4 at Bobcat
Bloomfield High School's football head coach Bruce Hatch talks with his team during their homecoming game against Miyamura on Oct. 4 at Bobcat Stadium in Bloomfield. (Daily Times file photo)

FARMINGTON — For the first time in a decade, the Bloomfield High School football team is looking for a new head coach.

The Bobcats have parted ways with Bruce Hatch, who spent the previous 10 seasons with the program.

"We're just making a change," said Bloomfield athletic director Steve Scott, who declined to discuss the reasons for Hatch's dismissal.

Hatch, who graduated from Bloomfield in 1995, was disappointed in the school's decision to go in a different direction with the football program.

"It's tough because it's the only job I ever wanted," said Hatch, who will remain at Bloomfield High as a counselor and assistant track coach. "I love the kids and all the people I worked with. Even the worst times were still enjoyable, because I had people with me who believed in what we are doing."

Hatch complied a 57-52 record in 10 years with the program, including a 54-35 record during the eight years the Bobcats competed in Class 3A.

"It was a lot of fun, and one thing I'll say is the football program is in a lot better shape than it was 10 years ago," Hatch said. "It's something that has to be respected."

Hatch said he appreciated the chance to coach at his alma mater, adding that it was something most people don't get to experience.

"I'm thankful to coach (Phil) Sategña for giving me the opportunity, all the coaches that worked with me and all the kids," he said. "No matter how it ended, it was still fun."

The Bobcats were unable to duplicate their regular season success in the postseason with Hatch.

Bloomfield made seven playoff appearances and earned six first-round byes, but won just two playoff games and made one semifinal appearance in 2008 before losing to eventual state champion Portales.

The head coaching job will remain open for applications until Jan. 24, after which the school will begin to interview candidates, Scott said.

The Bobcats will move to Class 4A next season, remaining in a district with Shiprock, Thoreau and Wingate. The district will also welcome newcomers Kirtland Central and Zuni.

Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or jperry@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.