LEA SPORTS HALL OF FAME NAMES GREAT TEAMS OF LEA COUNTY

The Lea County Sports Hall of Fame has announced it is designating a great teams listing of boys and girls teams for each of the county’s current towns that field public school athletic teams.

Although it did not make the final great teams cut the 1949-50 Lovington boys basketball team was a state champion. That year Ralph Tasker was the coach, he is seen here on the left of the team.

Before many outstanding teams developed in a young Lea County, there were teams playing at Lea schools, including the 1923 Lovington basketball team.

For Tatum, Lovington, Hobbs, Eunice, and Jal, the great team listing comes from considering teams in all sports, including football, basketball, golf, baseball, soccer, volleyball, cross country, and track and field.

Gene Murphy, president of the board of directors of the Lea County Museum and LCSHOF, says, “Since we formed the Hall of Fame in 2009, we have wanted to acknowledge not only outstanding individual athletes but also Lea County teams that excelled.”

“In the selection process, the teams can be from any sport,” Murphy says, “and we wanted to choose a great boys team and a great girls team from each of the towns. All of the teams chosen were state champions.”

The following teams were chosen for boys:

Tatum: 1986-87 Football, 9-3 record

Lovington: 1986-87 Football undefeated

Hobbs: 1969-70 Basketball, 26-1

Eunice: 1958-59 Football, undefeated

Jal: 1967-68 Football, 10-1

Here are the selected great teams for girls:

Tatum Volleyball 2012 , 24-4 record

Lovington Basketball 2012-13, 22-9

Hobbs 2002-03 Basketball, 25-3

Eunice Volleyball, 1996, 22-2

Jal Basketball 1981-82, 22-4

“We realize that different sports enthusiasts will disagree about the choices,” says Murphy, “but we felt that those differing opinions should not deter us from acknowledging the accomplishments of individual athletes working as a team.”

“We are not saying that beyond all doubt, without any question, these are the absolute greatest of all the teams. We are just tipping our hat to these outstanding teams who stood out in winning and who have brought honor to Lea County.”

Acting as a consultant for data in the process is Hobbs’ Rick Shed, who has written a book about Lea sports, “Hobbs Basketball: By the Numbers” and who has spent a considerable part of his life compiling information about county athletes and teams. For him, it has been an enjoyable hobby and passion. His book is available online at Amazon.com.

Shed was also on the original board of directors for the HOF that created the origination and chose the initial inductees.

The great teams will be listed on a large plaque in a prominent part of the HOF beside photographs and biographies of the individual athletes who have been inducted.

Because of budget constraints on the Lea County Museum this year,” Murphy says, “the board of directors felt we should not have a formal banquet and induction this year. The annual ceremonies, which we have had since 2009 and which have been outstanding celebrations, are very expensive to put on. Perhaps we will get back to having the ceremonies in 2015.”

Murphy also announced that from this year forward the name of the Hall will be the Lea County Sports Hall of Fame rather than the original title of Lea County Athletic Hall of Fame.