Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Better late than never: Viramontes honored with induction into the NMAA Hall of Fame

Dave Burge

Las Cruces Public Schools’ Athletics Director Ernie Viramontes was inducted into the New Mexico Activities Association Hall of Fame but had to wait a little longer than expected to receive the honor.

His selection was first announced in 2019 and he was due to be honored during the state basketball tournament in March 2020.

But the celebration has been suspended for more than a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead, Viramontes was honored during the annual sports directors’ autumn conference in Albuquerque in September 2021.

Viramontes has worked in various roles at Las Cruces Public Schools since 1984. He has worked as a teacher, consultant, assistant principal and sports director.

Viramontes has also coached athletics, soccer, and basketball in middle and high school for LCPS.

A native of Deming, Viramontes was a two-year letter winner in football and basketball when he was a student at Deming High School. He was all counties and all states in football and all counties in basketball.

After high school, Viramontes attended New Mexico State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor in math and a master’s degree in bilingual education.

He began his career in 1984 as a physical education teacher at the elementary schools of Central and Fairacres before moving to Picacho Middle School in 1987, where he also worked as a physical education teacher.

He spent six years at Picacho Middle School before moving to Sierra Middle School, where he worked as a school counselor and assistant principal. In 1999 he moved to Las Cruces High School, where he was deputy headmaster and dean of studies.

In 2004 he moved to the district office, where he initially worked for two years as deputy athletics director before becoming district sports director in 2006, a position he still holds today.

During his tenure as District AD, he was instrumental in several facility improvement projects, including the expansion of the Field of Dreams baseball and softball complex and the turf on the Field of Dreams soccer field.

“I am really blessed to work for this district that has given me so much,” Viramontes said in a district press release. “This is a team effort and without the people I work with, my co-workers, I couldn’t get the job done. I want to thank my family who always support me and inspire me every day. Finally, I would like to thank the athletes and the people here in Doña Ana County. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve my community. “

He was previously named District Sports Director of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year for the New Mexico Athletic Directors Association, and Athletic Director of the Year for the New Mexico High School Coaches Association.

Viramontes has also served the NMAA in a variety of roles including the NMAA Commission and Board, Sport Specific Committees, the NMAA Hardship Committee, the NMAA Eligibility Committee, and the NMAA Classification and Orientation Committee.

The NMAA Hall of Fame includes individuals who have made significant contributions to interschool education in the state of New Mexico over an extended period of time. The Hall of Fame was founded in 1976 and consists of 108 members. To be considered, nominees must show “strong support for the philosophy and objectives of the NMAA, they must have a combination of involvement in the formulation of regulations and procedures for various interschool educational programs, and they must have at least 25 years of service, 20 of those in New Mexico must have been, “says the LCPS press release.

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