Published: 12:20 am, Sun. Feb. 12th, 2017Updated: 12:17 am
Jeremy Maupin knows plenty about tradition.
First and foremost, of course, is the Artesia football tradition, in which any past Bulldog is well-versed. He had the opportunity to relearn it from a different angle five years ago when he returned to his hometown to serve as an assistant coach.
Then there was his family tradition – a trio of Maupins, Jeremy and his cousins, Paul and David, whose surname became synonymous with skilled Artesia quarterbacks in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Now, he’s hoping to take that knowledge with him as he takes the next and, to date, biggest step in his career: the head coaching position at Los Lunas High.
“One of my goals in coaching has always been to become a head coach,” Maupin says. “You start thinking about where you want to be, you start making lists. We’ve played Los Lunas, and I was just really impressed with their athletes and the people in the community.
“My wife’s from the Albuquerque area and has a lot of family up there. Honestly, I didn’t really want to live in Albuquerque, but I wanted to be close, so when the job came open, I called my wife and said, ‘What do you think about Los Lunas?’ She was real excited, and I started getting excited, so I talked to Cooper and Rex (Henderson) about it and went ahead and decided to apply there.”
Maupin was named amongst the school’s top five finalists Feb. 3 and three days later, the job was his.
“It’s been a really good experience so far,” he says. “I’ve met some really good people, and I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Maupin graduated Artesia High School in 2005 with a solid slate of accomplishments during his time as a Bulldog, including a 42-0 state championship win over Silver City in his senior season of 2004.
Maupin remains seventh on Artesia’s all-time list for passing attempts in a season (349) and 10th in career passing yards (2,982), season passing yards (2,982) and touchdown passes in a season (29).
He attended Eastern New Mexico University and New Mexico State University, graduating in 2012, and he and his wife, Nicole, welcomed their first child, Finley Marquise’ Maupin, in August 2015.
“It’s kind of one of those bittersweet things where you’re sad to leave,” says Maupin. “I love Artesia. I’ve grown up here. The people are great, the coaches are great, and the football is top-notch. But Coach Henderson always told me, ‘If you want to be a head coach, you’ve got to be willing to move and look at different places,’ so I’m really excited to go to Los Lunas.”
The Hendersons’ legacy in Artesia and the stability they’ve been able to bring to the Bulldog program is something that’s influenced Maupin.
“That’s part of what’s been nice about being here,” he says. “Coach Henderson was the coach for 27 years, and I think Rex is going to be here a long time, too, so that’s something I want to take to Los Lunas. I’m not using this as a stepping stone or anything else. I think it’s a great school, and so I’m hoping to make my mark there and have some success.
“I have a lot of respect for the Hendersons, and I owe them a huge thanks. I really look up to them, they’re great friends, and they’re people that I’m still going to keep in contact with and ask questions.”
Los Lunas will be coming off a 9-4 2016 season that produced a Division 1 recruit in running back O’maury Samuels and a Class 5A state semifinal appearance. The Tigers’ season ended there at the hands of Artesia, 35-7, their second loss of the year to the ‘Dogs after falling 39-21 Sept. 30.
Maupin says he definitely will be taking the lessons he’s learned with the Bulldogs and applying them to his new position as he works to develop his own style.
“Bulldog football’s pretty much all I’ve known,” he says. “I really like a lot of the things we do, and what’s nice about being here is that I’ve been allowed to put my mark on some things here. We talk as coaches, and I’ve been able to have some input and see some of that flourish out on the field, so I think it will just be a matter of taking what I’ve learned here and adding some things, putting my own spin on some things but keeping a similar structure.
“Like I told the people up there, ‘Why would I not want to do a lot of the things we’re doing in Artesia?’ It’s one of the most successful programs, and so the way I treat the kids and the way we handle the small things is going to be very similar. I’m a competitive person. I want to win. That’s something that’s been instilled in me here, so I’m hoping to take that winning mentality there and hopefully compete like we do here.”
Maupin says he’ll also be taking the support of the Artesia community with him, something he says has helped make him the person he is today.
“The people in this community are so great,” Maupin says. “I was talking to a parent last night, and I told them the hardest thing about all this was leaving the people. I just love the people here, and I want to thank them for all they’ve done in my life. Hopefully, I’ll get to see them again when Artesia comes up to Los Lunas next year, but I want to thank everyone for helping me reach my goal.”