MARV SANDERS – He won four state titles and 787 games while coaching boys’ basketball in Farmington, Silver City, Hatch, Portales and Lovington. “You were always there for me,” posted former Farmington and UNM star Rob Robbins on Facebook. “You were the epitome of a leader.” Sanders died on December 30, 2020 at the age of 81.
DAVE SYME: Syme, a Lobo basketball player from the 1950s, worked as a timekeeper in the pit for 36 years. He died on December 25, 2020 at the age of 92.
RICH ALDAY: As the UNM baseball coach, he won 515 games as the best program. He died on January 6th at the age of 71 in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona.
“He really was one of the greatest people I’ve ever met,” said former Lobo Dusty Young.
DALE KENNEDY: Kennedy, a Lobo “alpha fan” who attended every UNM men’s basketball game for a year, died on January 6th at the age of 70.
TOMMY LASORDA: He became famous as the colorful manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he auditioned for the job of skipper of the Albuquerque Dukes from 1972-76. Lasorda died on January 7th at the age of 93.
CHARLEY VILLA: An Albuquerque businessman who held concession rights to UNM sports facilities for years was a staunch and staunch Lobo fan who, besides his family and close friends, had excellent high school and college sports careers. He died on February 17th at the age of 90.
KAREN TRUJILLO: Karen Trujillo, wife of Hatch Valley Boys basketball coach Ben Trujillo, was hit by a vehicle and killed while walking her dogs on February 25 in Las Cruces. A former teacher, she was the director of the Las Cruces public schools and played an active role in high school athletics in the Las Cruces area. She was 50.
SCOTTY OLIVER: Oliver is from Texas and served on the UNM soccer team for three years from 1966 to 68 and lived in Albuquerque. Oliver died on March 7th at the age of 74.
ALEX JACKSON: State BMX Champion and Cibola football player Jackson was shot dead in Rio Rancho on March 10th. He had just turned 15.
ERIC TALLEY: Talley, a Boulder, Colorado police officer, a highland high school graduate and former youth soccer player in Albuquerque, was shot while trying to stop a mass shooting at a Boulder grocery store. He died on March 22nd at the age of 51.
TYLER EAST: East, a talented but troubled wrestler and MMA fighter, was shot dead on April 4th during an altercation in his hometown of Los Lunas. He was 30 years old.
ADAN CARRIAGA: He later rose to prominence as a community activist and Master Santero, but before that he was a mainstay of basketball for coach Jim Hulsman at Albuquerque High in the 1970s. He returned from serious injuries sustained in a car accident to play at the New Mexico Military Institute and McPherson (Kansas) College. Carriaga died on May 1st at the age of 63. Albuquerque Journal columnist Jolene Gutierrez Krueger, an AHS classmate, wrote that he was “never tired, never stopped spreading love”.
OUR BOBBY: The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and auto racing legend died on May 2nd. He was 87 years old.
“Sure, there are some things that frustrated me about him,” said friend and rival Mario Andretti about the often frank and never shy Unser. “But those were also some of the things I’ll miss the most.”
DEL CRANDALL: A 16 year old major league veteran, Crandall directed the Albuquerque Dukes from 1978 to 1983. He led the Dukes to a 94-38 record in 1981. He died on May 5th at the age of 91.
MARV SPALLINA: In the mid-1950s, Spallina was a UNM baseball and basketball player. He remained a devoted Lobo fan and held a basketball season ticket for a long time. He died on May 6th at the age of 89.
LAURA RASMUSSEN: Your work ethic during her years in sports information at UNM and elsewhere was only matched by her warmth, nature and inexhaustible capacity for friendship. Rasmussen died of heart problems on May 21 at the age of 32.
BOBBY OUR JR: son of Bobby, nephew of Al Jr., cousin of Al Jr., brother of Robby, Bobby Jr. was a successful driver himself. “He was a life enthusiast,” said his second cousin, Cody Unser. Bobby Jr. died on June 13 at the age of 65.
MIKE BROWN: Brown led the Albuquerque Academy Chargers to six consecutive state titles in New Mexico from 1989 to 1994.
“He taught me how to be a father, how to be a man,” said James Borrego, former charger and current head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. Brown died on June 30th at the age of 75.
BILL DOTSON: UNM wrestling coach for 20 years (1980-99) before the program was cut for Title IX and budgetary reasons, Dotson died on July 3rd at the age of 81.
“Wrestling at UNM was a big, big part of my life and Bill Dotson was larger than life,” said former Lobo and Rio Grande wrestling coach Mark Garcia.
HERB HUGHES: Hughes – “The Boy from Roy” – died on July 3rd at the age of 90.
DICK “BOO” ELLIS: Ellis, a versatile UNM basketball star for Bob King in the early years of Lobomania (1963-65), died on July 14, aged 77 in his hometown of Indianapolis.
TERRY STONE: In 1963, he brought Bill Gentrys Highland Hornets to quarterback to a major state title and undefeated season. Four years later, he led the nation in two pass categories for the New Mexico Lobos. “He was a born leader,” said Hornet’s teammate and longtime friend Jim Gates. “… Your all-American child.” Stone died on July 16 at the age of 75.
MATTHEW ASHER: Asher, an award-winning sports journalist and photographer for Carlsbad Current-Argus, died on July 18 at the age of 37.
BRIAN O’NEILL: O’Neill, a basketball player at Cibola, coached La Cueva, UNM, and Baylor before heading the New Mexico Sports Authority and then providing color commentary on 101.7 FM’s preparatory basketball sports broadcasts. He died on July 20 at the age of 56.
PHIL GRIEGO: He brought the St. Pius X girls to three state titles and 13 district titles. “… As good a coach as he was, he was an even better person,” said Kevin Hillsey, Griego’s assistant coach at St. Pius. “You don’t get that many friends in your life.” Griego died on September 15th at the age of 60.
MIKE DANOFF: Danoff, a former highland athletics star, was a loyal UNM booster and coached youth basketball for 25 years. He died on September 15 at the age of 73.
RICHARD STEVENS: Stevens, a sports journalist and columnist for the Albuquerque Tribune for more than three decades, died on October 13 at the age of 70. Often provocative, often hilarious, sometimes both at once, Stevens was revered by his former Tribune colleagues and adored by his son Trevor and daughter Kelsey.
JOE LEE DUNN: A pioneering and nationally recognized figure in the development of college football defense, Dunn joined UNM in 1980 as Defensive Coordinator and was the Lobos’ head coach from 1983-1986. He died on October 26th at the age of 75.
SAMMY DEFILLIPPO: A Rio Rancho Little League coach, dedicated recreational softball player, and a member of the United Slow-Pitch Softball Association Hall of Fame, DeFillippo died on October 29 at the age of 82.
TODD BAILEY: Bailey spent most of his life as a newspaper journalist in New Mexico, including sports coverage in Hobbs, where he grew up and graduated from high school in 1990, and in Santa Fe. He was the editor of the Hobbs News-Sun when he died on October 31st. The Oklahoma Sooners fanatic was 49 years old.
LOREN DILS: Sick of ALS in 2008, Dils continued to work faithfully in his sport of tennis until the illness finally challenged him. “We lost a great lobo today,” said UNM Sports Director Eddie Nuñez of the former UNM assistant coach. Dils died on November 3rd at the age of 55.
MICKY REEVES: Hands down one of New Mexico’s best prep athletes of all time, Reeves played soccer, basketball, baseball and set a state high jump record for Roswell High in his spare time from 1985-88. He died on November 6th at the age of 51.
HUBERT “HUGH” DICKSON: Originally from Oklahoma, Dickson taught physical education and coached football and baseball at Monroe Jr. High before moving to Del Norte, where he coached baseball and basketball. His APS career spanned a quarter of a century. Dickson died on November 30th at the age of 86.
JAMES BUTLER: UNM Smooth Running / Cross Country Head Coach Joe Franklin paid tribute to Butler, a top assistant, for making the women’s Lobo cross country program some of the best in the country. Butler, a former Eldorado track and field athlete and coach, died on December 3rd at the age of 41.
MARLEEN GREENWOOD: The Magdalena High School girls basketball coach and her 8 year old niece were on their way to a Steers game when they were killed in a car accident. “She is the salt of the earth,” said Damien Ocampo, Socorro football coach who previously worked with Greenwood. She died on December 4th at the age of 49.
AL OUR SR: Towards the end of a tragic year for the legendary Albuquerque family, “Big Al”, a four-time Indy 500 winner, died on December 9th at the age of 82. “He was a great man and an even bigger ‘father,” wrote son Al Jr., a two-time Indy winner, on social media.