Sandia HS baseball coach’s legacy continues with memorial 5K

An Albuquerque high school still isn’t quite the same after its head baseball coach lost a battle with cancer two years ago. 

Saturday was special, though, as the late coach helped raise money for homeless students and seniors. 

“Without a doubt, John was one of the most outstanding human beings I’ve ever known,” said Sandia High School Principal, Larry D’Anza. 

Coach John Gunther was selfless. 

“He always made it about Sandia, he always made it about the students,” said Sharie Gunther, John Gunther’s wife. 

He was dedicated to his team, his students, and all of Albuquerque’s youth. 

“We always got people from other teams and other schools, come up and tell us how much Coach had made a difference in their life,” said Sharie Gunther. 

It’s been two years since Coach Gunther died of stage four colon cancer. 

“It’s important for my team to see me fight this and it’s going to apply to what they do in life for sure,” said Coach Gunther back in 2016. 

Today, his legacy lives on with a second annual memorial 5K at Sandia High School. 

“The money goes towards a scholarship for the Sandia High School students, two of the seniors graduating. And then some of the money goes to the APS Title One for students who are in need,” said Sharie Gunther. 

Students applying for the scholarship have to explain how they are ‘Gunther Strong.’

“‘Gunther Strong’ is just putting back into the community, and just really giving back. Trying to inspire as many people as possible,” said Coach Gunther’s son, David Gunther. 

Sharie Gunther says her husband never let cancer get in the way of his students. 

Now, this scholarship is a way to ensure the coach can keep taking care of them. 

“He would say he was so proud, humbled, and amazed by the turnout and support that we continually get,” said Sharie Gunther. 

No word on how much money was raised Saturday. Roughly 100 people participated in the event.

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