Aztec wrestling coach Monte Maxwell retires after 15 seasons with the Tigers

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Aztec High School History Teacher and Wrestling Coach Monte Maxwell holds up a baby photo of his daughter Jocelyn Maxwell as he introduces her as Salutatorian on May 21 during the 2021 commencement ceremony at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.

FARMINGTON — After guiding Aztec's wrestling to a state championship four-peat, Monte Maxwell is ready to head off into the sunset – retiring after 15 seasons at the helm.

And with his daughter, Jocelyn Maxwell, graduating from Aztec High School this spring, he said it was the right time to call it a career.

"We've been talking about it the last four years … timing worked out, and it just happened," Monte Maxwell said.

Maxwell, who joined the Tigers entering the 2006-2007 season following four seasons coaching Shiprock's wrestling program, concluded his tenure with four consecutive blue trophies.

"It's always nice when it works out that way," he said.

He added that it was tough to come to his decision on retirement because of his relationships with the coaching staff and wrestlers he had for so long.

Maxwell, who will teach at Farmington's Piñon Hills Academy going forward, also said he enjoyed watching Aztec's foundation grow, change and respond to challenges, including the 2017 shooting at the high school and the coronavirus pandemic, during the last four years.

"We had the shooting when they were freshmen, having COVID their junior year … just being able to watch them (win four state titles) was awesome. … It just shows their ability to overcome adversity, their resiliency," Maxwell said.

Although Maxwell will be away from the wrestling mat, he's glad his successor will begin their tenure with a strong foundation in place.

The core group includes two-time defending state champion Bryson Valdez and 2021 state champion Talan Olguin, as well as two-time defending state champions Makayla Munoz and Princess Altisi on the girls side.

"I don't see Aztec wrestling slowing down. … The group that's there has a great foundation, a great work ethic," he said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, mhollinshead@daily-times.com and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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