Sun Sports Central is Hobbs News-Sun sports editor Clayton Jones' blog where you'll find his thoughts on local, regional and national sports happenings. To keep track of all your favorite local teams, subscribe to the News-Sun's print or online edition by calling 575-393-2123.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Gleghorn a great fit for Hobbs
With the holiday season here, what do you get that special high school football program in your life that already has top-notch facilities and equipment, a huge student body to choose from and a community eager for a winner after nearly 30 years of state playoff ineptitude?
How about a spread-offense, quick-tempo loving, state-title winning coach who has ties to the area, has won everywhere he’s been and gets players out for football in droves with his player-friendly system?
That’s what the Hobbs administration gave its football program Thursday when it hired Charles Gleghorn.
The former Mesilla Valley Christian coach who is coming off a Class 1A state title this season in just the program’s third year of existence to go along with three Class 2A state titles with Hatch Valley (2003-05) fits perfectly for what Hobbs needed in my eyes to turn the program around.
Hobbs needed to go with a younger coach so something can be built and sustained (Gleghorn is 41), yet has experience as a head coach (11 years worth for Gleghorn), has turned struggling programs around (he did it at Hatch Valley, Kirtland Central and built Mesilla Valley Christian from scratch) and has a system that is not only exciting so players will come out, but is effective (Gleghorn’s pass-happy spread offense owns numerous passing state records in New Mexico).
Most importantly to Hobbs fans, Gleghorn is hungry and determined to turn an Eagle football program around that has just one playoff win since 1982, hasn’t won a district title outright since 1974 and hasn’t won a state title since 1972.
“Hobbs is one of the premier jobs in New Mexico,” Gleghorn said. “You have some big ones in Las Cruces and Albuquerque, but unless you are from that part of the state you don’t understand how big football is and how big football can be (in Hobbs). I grew up around that mentality. You can just open the door and look outside at Hobbs High School and you can see the facilities and you can tell they are serious about it. That is how it is down there and I’ve always wanted to come back and be a part of that. Hobbs has always been in the back of the my mind hoping to get a chance at it and today is that day.”
Gleghorn’s M.O. is his spread-passing attack that he describes part Southern Methodist University’s June Jones’ system, part Chip Kelly’s system out of Oregon plus other attributes of other systems that make up a unique offense of his own.
That offense averaged 44.3 points and 460 yards (343 passing, 117 rushing) per game last season at Mesilla Valley. While at Hatch Valley, Gleghorn was coach when Brett Henson set New Mexico state records for passing yards in a game (546), season (4,914) and career (12,124) and passing touchdowns in a game (nine), season (70) and career (166).
Gleghorn’s offense is a perfect match for Hobbs, a city best known for its fast-breaking, pressing 16-time state championship boys basketball program. Gleghorn’s offense is essentially Hobbs boys basketball on turf.
Both have the same concept – put so much pressure on an opponent so to force it out of its comfort zone and make the opponent do things it wouldn’t usually do.
Everyone I talk to seems excited about the Gleghorn hire, and for good reason. From what I hear, kids love playing football for Gleghorn and parents love their kids playing football for him. I’ve heard Gleghorn’s peers have plenty of respect for him as well.
Still, everyone around the Hobbs football program is going to have to be patient.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. There is plenty of hard work ahead for the coaching staff and the athletes to help change the not-so-gleaming football culture in Hobbs.
But Hobbs has taken the first step in changing that culture with the hire of Gleghorn.
(Note: This column appears in Sunday's edition of the Hobbs News-Sun. To subscribe to the print or online version of the paper to get complete Lea County sports coverage of Hobbs, Lovington, Eunice, Jal and Tatum, call 575-393-2123.)