Veteran Texas administrator Lyle Ebner named to post
Lyle Ebner spent 14 years on the high school athletics scene in southeast Texas, and Central Consolidated School District athletic director Ben Tensay hopes Ebner will bring that kind of continuity to his new job as he takes charge of Kirtland Central’s athletic department.
“I’m really looking forward to getting started. I’m really happy to be starting a career in New Mexico,” Ebner said tonight.
Ebner served as principal at Brazos High School, a 2A school in Wallis, Texas, from July 1999 to July 2013. And although he has no prior A.D. experience, he supervised four athletic directors during his time at Brazos.
Ebner said that’s how a single-high school district like the Brazos Independent School District operates its athletic staff.
“It was easy for him to oversee some of those things,” Tensay said, adding Ebner’s experiences will help lead to continuity with the Kirtland job. “That’s going to help us in our program, how we communicate with our coaches. That’s what caught my eye. He’s well-versed in athletics in general. He’s really excited to start this journey with us and see where it takes us.”
Ebner also served four terms as an interim superintendent with Brazos ISD on and off over a 24-month period.
After retiring in July 2013, he moved to El Paso to help care for his mother. He said she was living in nearby Chaparral, New Mexico, at the time.
From there, he was drawn to the Land of Enchantment.
“It’s just so beautiful. It’s a desert oasis,” Ebner said, adding he never previously worked in New Mexico.
Ebner said his vision for Kirtland’s athletic department is for students to try as many sports as they can. Ebner said he had some Brazos athletes who competed in as many as six sports.
“You can get so much out of it,” Ebner said, adding he already is encouraged by how many multpile-sport student athletes Kirtland has. “That diversification is good for the school, and it’s good for the athlete. It’s just so good for kids in so many ways.”
Ebner, who will also be Kirtland's assistant principal, said the more student athletes a team has, the more creative it can be with team personnel. Ebner also said taking part in more and more sports can help an athlete stay in shape year round.
For example, Ebner said if a basketball player decides to try cross-country, the cardiovascular strength needed to run fast in the latter sport would simply transfer to basketball and make running up and down the floor easier.
“I always felt the smaller schools offered more for kids. The kids get so much opportunity to participate and shine,” Ebner said.
Ebner replaces Keith Neil, who stepped down on June 29 to become Navajo Prep’s dean of instruction. Ebner will be the third person since 2016 to lead Kirtland’s athletic department.
"He’s really catching on," Tensay said. "He’s (got) a very welcoming, team-oriented attitude. I’m hoping he continues what Mr. Neil started.”
Tensay said he will handle schedules and athletic personnel evaluations, but Ebner will oversee game-day operations.
Tensay said he hopes Kirtland’s recent lack of continuity at the top will change during Ebner’s tenure.
“I’m hoping he stays there. Our kids need that most of all,” Tensay said. “He’s got lot of things up his sleeve that he’d like to bring.”
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.