John Tigert, Terrance Orgain, Dr. Veronica Gonzales-Bruce and George Wilson Knapp were honored as the newest members of the Carlsbad High Athletic Hall of Fame.
The four were honored at a pep rally and luncheon Oct. 8 in Carlsbad. The inductees were also expected to be introduced during the Carlsbad Caveman football game Oct. 8.
“Thank you all for everything you’ve done for this community,” Carlsbad High School Cavemen Basketball Coach John Zumbrun said to the inductees.
He served as the master of ceremonies during the luncheon at the Lucky Bull Restaurant.
“The Hall of Fame is not an end. I am hyped up,” Zumbrun said.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools Board of Education member and former coach Ron Singleton introduced Bruce and Orgain.
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Bruce graduated from Carlsbad High School in 2001 and won a state title in javelin her senior year. She also lettered at the University of New Mexico in the javelin.
“I’ve been trying a longtime to get Veronica in here,” Singleton said. “I can’t say enough about her. I know I talked with you about this along time ago. She could throw the javelin.”
Bruce said she did not start throwing the javelin until her junior year in high school.
“This is an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” she said.
Singleton said Orgain joined the Cavemen varsity track team while in eighth grade.
“He ran varsity for us. He has always been an inspiration to me,” Singleton said. “He is an outstanding athlete and wonderful person to be around.”
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Orgain earned all-district and all-state qualifier from 2002 to 2004 and graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 2013.
He is a 30-time New Mexico State Special Olympics Champion and a three-time National Special Olympics Champion and won a world title in 2009 in China.
“We have a world champion athlete sitting here today,” Singleton said. “He still runs. He is the epitome of what teaching and coaching is all about.”
Gary Bradley, head football coach at Carlsbad High School, recognized the family of George Wilson Knapp.
He graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1947 and was a two-time all-state player. Knapp was a two-time all-conference honoree at the University of New Mexico in 1949 and 1950. He was an assistant football and basketball coach at Carlsbad High School from 1952 to 1956. Knapp won three state titles as the head football coach at Lovington High School from 1956 to 1963.
After high school, he moved to the college football ranks in 1967 as the offensive coordinator for the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and left in 1971.
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“He did some great things,” Bradley said. “I’m very humbled to introduce the family into the Carlsbad Hall of Fame.”
Former Cavegirl Softball coach and Athletics Director John Tigert was introduced by longtime family friend Mike Veilleax during the luncheon.
“He had a great respect for Carlsbad athletics,” Veilleax said. “John has a reputation of being hard-nosed. His adversaries were umpires and officials.”
Tigert coached the Cavegirls to 11 state titles, eight state runners’ up and won 25 district championships.
Tigert amassed 600 wins and was a five-time New Mexico Coach of the Year and founded the New Mexico All-Star Softball Game.
“I tell people I got this award because I outlived my competition,” Tigert said. “I was always fortunate to have superior athletes. It also has to do with great assistants.”
Carlsbad High School Athletics Director James Johns said Tigert retired at the conclusion of the 2021 softball season.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.