New Mexico West Texas Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame
Once a month I will be choosing a Coach from The New Mexico West Texas area to go into the Hall of Fame. They will be listed underneath here and short biography on their accomplishments. I am only covering this area and back to the 1953-54 season only. Any accomplishments outside the area, years or a team I haven’t researched will not be included.
Ralph Tasker, Hobbs, 1953-54 to 1997-98
Tasker is the winningest Coach in this area with a 1003-215 (.823 pctg) record (not his complete record) in 45 years at Hobbs High School. Tasker’s teams won the New Mexico State Championship 11 times during this span. Tasker had two seasons 1965-66 and 1980-81 that finished undefeated. Tasker coached teams averaged over 100 points per game an amazing eight times which is a national record. Tasker is the first inductee for this websites Hall of Fame. His Coaching percentage ranking number of 36.993 is also a national record.
Numbers 45 seasons 1003-215 .823 36.993 .822
Clifton McNeely, Pampa, 1953-54 to 1959-60
McNeely’s record from 54-60 was 176-26 (.871 pctg) with three State Championships, one State Runnerup and one final four appearance. Two of the season McNeely’s team went undefeated with a 28-0 record in 1954 and a 31-0 record in 1959. Pampa had a 77 game winning streak started before the 53-54 season and ended in the 1954-55 season.
Numbers 7 seasons 176-26 .871 6.053 .865
Bobby Lesley, El Paso Eastwood, 1966-67 to 1992-93.
Lesley’s record at Eastwood in 27 seasons was 622-193 (.763 pctg). Lesley’s Eastwood team won the 1976 State Championship in Texas Big School class. This is the only El Paso school to win state since C D Jarvis’ El Paso High teams did in the 1940s, Eastwood had three teams that were finalist in Regionals, 1973-74 (26-5), 1976-77 (32-2), and 1980-81 (35-4).
Numbers 27 seasons 622-193 .763 20.277 .751
Jim Hulsman, Albuquerque, 1968-69 to 2001-02
Hulsman’s record at Albuquerque was 660-223 (.747 pctg). Hulsman’s teams won the New Mexico State Championship seven times and finished as New Mexico State Runnerup another seven times.
Numbers 34 seasons 660-223 .747 25.189 .741
Tony Harper, El Paso Burges 1971-72 to 1984-85, El Paso 1985-86 to 1989-90, El Paso Montwood 1991-92 to 2012-13,
One of three coaches from the New Mexico West Texas with 1000 wins, Harper led Burges to six playoff appearances. At El Paso Harper led El Paso to a 28-5 record in 1988 and a regional semifinal appearance. Harper led El Paso to four playoff appearances in the five seasons he was there. Harper opened up Montwood High which began varsity play in 1992. Harper led Montwood to 15 playoff appearances and in 2006 led Montwood to the regional finals and a 30-1 record. Harper finished at El Paso Cathedral and reached the 1000 win mark.
Numbers 41 seasons 902-392 .697 28.430 .693
Russ Gilmore, Amarillo Tascosa 1984-85 to 1997-98, Hobbs 1998-99 to 2010-11
Gilmore came to Tascosa after coaching five seasons at Cowley (KS) Junior College. Gilmore led the 1988 Tascosa team to a 26-6 record and in 1989 his Tascosa team was a regional finalist ending the season at 25-8. Gilmore led Tascosa to the playoffs six different seasons. Gilmore then went to Hobbs winning four straight State Championship including the undefeated 99 team. Gilmore again led Hobbs to a State Championship in 2008.
Numbers 27 seasons 573-236 .708 19.187 .711
Jack Stephenson, Midland, 1978-79
Stephenson started at Midland in the 79-80 season and coached there for 27 seasons. Midland won the 1998 State Championship with a 37-1 record. In the 1994 season Midland advanced to the Texas State semi-finals. Midland was a regional finalist in 1999 finishing with a 31-4 record.
Numbers 27 seasons 610-261 .700 18.554 .687
Lou Henson, Las Cruces 1958-59 to 1961-62
Henson coached at Las Cruces for four seasons winning the State Championship three times while there. In 1959 his record was 24-6, 1960 his record was 27-3 and his record for his third championship was 28-1. Henson began his college career after 1962 coaching at Hardin Simmons, New Mexico State and Illinois.
Numbers 4 seasons 102-16 .864 3.459 .865