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Adrian Olivas

Artesia High School assistant football coach Adrian Olivas will be trading ‘Dogs for ‘Cats in 2017.

The five-year assistant and former standout running back for the Bulldogs accepted the position of head coach at Hagerman High School last week and will begin his career at the helm this summer.

“Coach (Cooper) Henderson told me right after our season ended that that job was open,” Olivas said. “I thought about it, and my entire family’s from there, so I figured that’d be a good place to start as a head coach.”

Olivas graduated from AHS in 2003 and was a member of the 2001 state championship Bulldog football team that defeated St. Pius 35-28 in Albuquerque.

A speedy and powerful running back, Olivas earned All-District and All-State honors during his two years as a starter and was named to the South All-Star Team his senior year.

“I think this is a good opportunity for him,” said Artesia athletic director Cooper Henderson. “I really think he’ll do well there, and I’m excited for him. When you watch Coach Olivas, he’s just like he was as a player. He’s not very vocal, but it’s amazing to see how the kids respond to him. He does it in a quiet tone but gets a lot done.

“Going where his family has had a background is also pretty exciting. Hagerman has had some good traditions and has done well in the past, and I think people will be expecting good things from him, too.”

Olivas will be taking over for previous Hagerman coach Kris Foust and hopes to bring fresh energy to the Bobcat program.

“I just want to hopefully get that community excited about football and sports in general,” said Olivas. “They’ve had some good coaches, but they’ve had about three or four different coaches over the past six years, so I also want to try to give them some stability.

“Obviously, things are a little different there because of numbers and things like that, but I’ll be starting there this summer, and I’m going to work hard. I expect them to work hard, as well, and hopefully they’ll buy in.”

Olivas says he also looks forward to applying all he’s learned both as a player and coach in the Artesia system to the Hagerman program.

“Offense and defense both, that’s all I know is the Artesia way,” said Olivas. “Also, the character and representing yourself and your family is something Artesia is really big on, so I’m going to try to carry that down there, too.”

“We hate to lose him, but we’re sure happy for him, and we’re really pleased that he’ll be somewhere where we’re able to keep in touch and keep up with him,” said Henderson. “For him to be in that position I think just represents some of the success he’s had so far in his career.”

And while leaving Artesia behind will be difficult for someone whose family bled orange for several years where football is concerned – Olivas’ brothers Chris and Jacob were also running backs at AHS – Olivas is looking forward to the transition and the new opportunities it will present.

“Artesia’s been very supportive,” Olivas said. “The administration, Dr. (Crit) Caton, JR Null, they’ve been really supportive, and both Coach Hendersons (Cooper and Artesia head coach Rex) seem to be very excited. They want their assistant coaches to go on to be head coaches.

“I’ll always be a Bulldog, and it’s going to be different wearing green. I don’t have anything but orange, but I’ll get used to it, and I’m looking forward to it.”