Peter Dindinger – NMMI Sports Press
Coaches work countless hours teaching and showing athletes things they don’t want to hear or see, but at the end of the day it’s all for the better.
New Mexico Military Institute head boys soccer coach John Barbour has influenced the lives of many young student-athletes during his 15-year coaching career, whether it’s been on the tennis court or soccer pitch.
His efforts were not ignored as he was recently recognized by United Soccer Coaches as a High School and Youth Region Coach of the Year at the private/parochial level.
The Colt soccer program had a rough start, but once they got the opportunity to compete in the postseason, winning consistently started to happen.
NMMI got its first shot at the playoffs in 2012 after going 9-9. The Colts hosted Portales but suffered a 2-1 loss.
Two years later, the Colts finished 13-4-1 to receive the fourth-seed at the Class A-3A tournament. After a first-round bye, NMMI lost 4-0 to Hope Christian.
The Colts returned to the tourney in 2015, but their postseason run was ended quickly with a 3-0 loss to Santa Fe Prep.
NMMI had its deepest run in 2017 after it defeated Portales in the first round, 2-1, before dropping a 4-0 match to Hope Christian. The Colts made their second straight quarterfinal appearance in 2018 after defeating Socorro in the opening round by way of penalty kicks.
The Colts later lost to Sandia Prep in the quarterfinals, 3-0.
This past season was memorable for the Colts after they finished 19-2-1 overall, appearing in the programs first-ever state championship game which resulted in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to St. Michael’s.
The road to get to the state title game wasn’t easy for NMMI. They beat Tierra Encantada in overtime before upsetting powerhouse Sandia Prep in the next round by way of penalty kicks.
“This year was really special because this was the first year that not only did we get a bye, but we also made it into the next round,” said Barbour. “We got to stay up in Albuquerque a few days. That was an amazing season.
“I had set a goal for myself that I really wanted to get to 100 wins. I was happy to have eclipsed that this year. To meet that benchmark of 100 wins was cool.”
Since becoming a coach at NMMI in 2005, Barbour, a Roswell native and a 1991 graduate of NMMI, has impacted many young cadets. Barbour is not only the head soccer coach but he’s also at the helm of the Colt tennis program and serves as a Troop Leadership Advisor for Alpha Troop.
Indeed, wins and losses are significant in the world of coaching, but helping student-athletes reach their full potential is a top priority.
“That’s what keeps you doing it. It’s the high points and low points,” Barbour said. “You’re part of their life and hopefully make a positive impact on that to a small degree, push them in the right direction, pick them up when they stumble.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to have an impact on a number of kids’ lives.”