FARMINGTON — A new athletic director — who is anything but new to San Juan County — will guide Bloomfield High School through its upcoming reclassification into District 1-5A.
Earlier this month, former Kirtland Central High School athletic director Cecil Linnens officially accepted the same position at Bloomfield High. He said he was "thrilled" to make the cross-county move.
"There are a lot of great teachers, coaches and students at Bloomfield that I'm excited to get to work with," Linnens said. "And the parents here are passionate about their sports. I think it's a really great opportunity."
Linnens worked for the past three years as Kirtland Central's athletic director, his first AD gig. Before that, he coached high school wrestling at several cities throughout the state, dating back to his first job at La Cueva in 1987.
Having coached wrestling at Bloomfield from 1991 to 1992 and in the late 1990s at Shiprock — one of Bloomfield's rivals — Linnens said he's still familiar with a lot of people in the city.
"I've known a lot of the coaches (at Bloomfield) for years and years," Linnens said. "And I've actually coached some of the parents of students that are there and some of the administrators that are working at the schools."
BHS Principal Chad Burkholder said a committee of school administrators, coaches, teachers and community members was responsible for hiring Linnens. Burkholder also said there were "a number of qualified applicants," but none more than the man they hired.
"He possessed all the qualities we were looking for in an athletic director," Burkholder said. "He has prior experience, knowledge of athletics, knowledge of the community, he works well with his colleagues, and he just has a great overall attitude towards the job."
Linnens will take over for the recently retired Steve Scott, who was also a coach for several decades before moving on to become an athletic director. Linnens, who was at Shiprock at the same time Scott was the school's head basketball coach, said he's aware he's taking over for someone who had a large impact on Bloomfield athletics.
"Steve did a great job," Linnens said. "He was very well-liked, and I've got some shoes to fill there."
Linnens said he's learned a lot since transitioning into an administrative role three years ago, and he's looking forward to bringing that knowledge with him to Bloomfield.
"Probably the No. 1 thing I learned at Kirtland was communication with parents, and (KC principal) Shawna Becenti taught me a lot about that," Linnens said. "She helped me a lot in that area, and I think I'm going to be better for it, going back to Bloomfield."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.