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Retiring to the lodge, George Brooks

March 6, 2007

The University of New Mexico is losing a friend, champion and legend. Well, perhaps ‘losing’ isn’t the right word—George Brooks, head coach of UNM’s Ski Team, the only UNM athletic program to win a NCAA National Championship, is retiring after this season.

The ABQ Tribune put together a great piece on his tenure as coach—in fact, the only coach the ski team has ever had.

“I remember once looking at a map of the U.S., and there were flags all across the country marking places that had won NCAA championships. There was no flag in New Mexico. Now, we have one.”

Not to be terribly critical, but I think it is fair question: UNM has doled out mountains of cash to ‘revenue generating’ mediocre coaches, so what should UNM do to reward a legendary coach who generated pride?

George Brooks coached the Lobos to season finishes in the top ten for 25 years straight. Dominant skiing—in New Mexico? Yes. We have Coach Brooks, his staff, and his skiers to thank for New Mexico’s only National Championship.

When the season finishes George Brooks will not only leave a lasting impression upon UNM athletics, but college athletics at large. In 1983, Coach Brooks was a member of the committee that ushered women’s collegiate skiing onto the championship stage. Men’s and women’s ski teams would compete together for the collegiate National Championship.

The Lobos are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, seated behind No. 1 ranked University of Colorado Buffaloes. Tomorrow is the first day of the 2007 National Championships held this year at Mt. Washington Vally, NH, by the the University of New Hampshire. Events will conclude Saturday, March 10, with Alpine. Good luck Lobos!

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