By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
Less than a month after the resignation of longtime coach Brenda Gomez, the Portales girls basketball program has its new leader.
Clay Stout, basketball athletic director and girls assistant basketball coach at Class 2A state champion Texico last year after a long tenure at Sudan, Texas, was named the Lady Rams’ coach on Tuesday.
Stout has collected 680 wins in 29 years as a high school basketball coach — including 25 years in girls hoops. His teams advanced to the fifth round of the Texas state playoffs in 12 of the last 18 seasons while averaging 26 wins a year over 21 seasons.
“Portales is a place where you feel like every year you have a chance to win it all,” Stout said. “Portales has built that type of reputation.
“When you see girls and the community expect to win, that’s exciting. It brings out the best in the coach, the coaching staff and the players. I think it brings out the best in everyone when you have high expectations.”
Stout, named the 2005 Texas high school girls coach of the year, said he’s looking forward to coming to a program which has been to seven consecutive Class 3A state championship games.
“He’s an excellent coach,” Gomez said. “He knows how to win, and I think it’s a good choice.
“That was a big concern whenever I decided to go, that hopefully they would be able to fill it with a person who will consider (the program) to be their baby and to keep it going in the same direction and I know he will.”
Stout attended Eastern New Mexico University before beginning his coaching career at Spade, Texas. After several other coaching stops in Texas, Stout spent nine years at Sudan before taking the basketball athletic director position in Texico last year.
“Coach Gomez and the entire community has done a great job of building a solid program,” Stout said. “Portales is very supportive of their athletics and I think that’s one reason why I’m so excited about it.”
When he was at Sudan, Stout said he always tried to schedule a game against Portales, and he noticed something about the Lady Rams.
“The thing that has always impressed me about the Portales kids is that they always play hard,” Stout said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a summer league game, it doesn’t matter who they’re playing — they always play hard.”
Portales fans may see one difference between Stout and Gomez.
“I’m more of a teacher of the game,” Stout said. “I’m not real charismatic on the bench.”
Gomez resigned her position in late June after 22 years as head coach, accepting a position as the girls basketball coach at Robinson High School in Waco, Texas.
“There’s plenty of ways to win,” she said. “Our personalities are definitely different,” Gomez said. “The kids will adjust really well. They’ll do what he asks because they want to win just as bad.”