New Mexico Sports History: The Vince Lombardi connection to Alamogordo High School

Visit Author to see photos of Coach Vince Lombardi details and his connection to Alamogordo High. details can also be found in Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Years available on Amazon

Vince Lombardi and the Alamogordo New Mexico Connection

Abridged Excerpt from Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1 Available at Roadrunner Emporium Alamogordo New Mexico or online at Amazon

A book that is so much more including a history of the characters that made up the Alamo sports program…

Page 141 Abridged Excerpt:

An Athlete Of Such Promise For The Tigers

The Alamogordo community was surprised with the sudden departure of Coach Tate, they were equally surprised by the loss of their sophomore star athlete Ray McDonald. 

McDonald had broken multiple records in track and field at the district level, achieved success at state competitions, labeled a most valuable player in football and basketball; then suddenly news broke he would not be back his junior year. What happened to Ray McDonald? That would appear to be a mystery to many locals.

News soon broke, Ray McDonald “followed Coach Tate to Idaho.” Speculation and rumors abounded. Had Tate recruited McDonald to go with him? Was there some longer- term packages deal that Tate had negotiated to get McDonald a college scholarship down the road? Was there something else? No one really knew. Tate however understood the art of “spin”, long before political correctness was ever a thing.

An article came out in Sports Illustrated, titled A Husky Reign dated 9/21/1964 that demonstrates Tate’s “art of spin” and attempts to explain Ray McDonald’s appearance at Caldwell High School in Caldwell, Idaho.

Sports Illustrated, A Husky Reign, 9/21/1964…

Circumstances that give the University of Idaho potentially the best college fullback in the country are related directly to a day three years ago when Coach Ralph Tate left Alamogordo. High School in New Mexico to take over the high school team in Caldwell, Idaho.

Tate was happy to come to Caldwell but sad—so sad—to leave behind a big, fast fullback named Ray McDonald. McDonald was equally heartbroken to see his coach go. So, came registration day at Caldwell High School, and surprise, surprise, there was Ray McDonald standing in line. The lines in Tate’s face were merged into one titanic grin.

They stayed that way for two seasons as McDonald became All- Idaho fullback. Then Ray McDonald graduated to the University of Idaho and Coach Dee Andros. “In my 14 years of watching high school athletes I never saw a better college prospect,” says Andros. Andros might have added that McDonald is so big (6 feet 4, 230 pounds) that he is rarely stopped by as few as two tacklers…

 We can only speculate as to the conversations that were had between Tate and McDonald prior to Tate’s departure.

What is known is Tate was a skilled and award-winning coach.

McDonald was a skilled athlete across many sports. He had an amazing high school, then college athletic career setting multiple records in track and field. McDonald was timed in the 100-yard dash at 9.9 seconds and was a first-team All-American in college. 

He threw the shot put and discus and was a national-class hurdler on the Vandal track team. Of course, he also had an outstanding football career, which led to his draft into the NFL and then the controversial history books of the NFL….

Abridged Excerpt Page 144…

Ray McDonald remained on the Washington roster in 1969, the year Guy Lombardi took over, according to Lombardi biographer, David Maraniss.

According to a Sports Illustrated article dated 6/23/2017 McDonald loved the coaching style of Guy Lombardi…

“I’d go right through that wall for the man,” McDonald told Underwood after the first day of practice… “

 There’s an old story about Vince Lombardi, told to prove the legendary coach’s obsession with punctuality. Early in training camp in 1969, his single year coaching in Washington after nine distinguished seasons in Green Bay, Lombardi held a team meeting in an auditorium at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn. The new coach made his expectations clear to players that summer: If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late.

So, when running back Ray McDonald walked through the swinging double doors late his fate was set. McDonald and Coach Lombardi went back and forth. McDonald claims that he wasn’t late—or perhaps that he was, but he had a good excuse….

For more purchase Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Days Book 1 of the 3 Book Series Available at Roadrunner Emporium in Alamogordo and on Amazon worldwide…

Photo on the website of of NFL Player and Former Alamogordo High School Athlete Ray McDonald who’s story is also included in Coach Robert Sepulveda the Early Days available on Amazon

Enjoy more sports history trivia and more by visiting our blog or continue to listen. Also if you have a love for art visit and discover partner artists and international authors.

To learn more on Artist Rene Sepulveda visit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s