ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After 35 years of coaching high school basketball, Ray Rodriguez officially announced that he is retiring. Rodriguez started his career at Highland High School, then went on to coach in Washington, and finished up his last 24 years of coaching at Cibola High School.

“It’s been something that has been on my mind, but it kind of came to fruition towards the end of the season, once the season was over, and it’s been 35 years as a head coach, 24 years at Cibola. Once I knew that’s what I wanted to do and to actually tell somebody, like my principal and my players, it’s one of the most difficult things I have had to do. You know, but for me, it was just time,” says Ray Rodriguez.

Rodriguez will stay at Cibola as the Athletic Director but says it’s time for someone new to come in and take over the basketball program. Coaching and teaching have been a big part of Rodriguez’s life, and while it was tough to say goodbye to coaching, he is happy with the career he’s had.

“Well, coaching and teaching for me were one in the same. It’s just getting kids to realize their potential and using basketball kind of as a vehicle to teach kids about life and overcoming adversity. Just the relationships you form with the kids, and I have gotten a ton of texts from my former players, from current players, from former coaches. All of that is just overwhelming, it’s overwhelming,” says Rodriguez.