Recording sheds light on firing of Rio Rancho High School baseball coach

Recording sheds light on firing of Rio Rancho High School baseball coach

Ron Murphy has been a fixture in our state's high school baseball arena for decades. He was also named "New Mexico's All-Time Winningest Coach" on the diamond.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Ron Murphy has been a fixture in our state’s high school baseball arena for decades. He was also named “New Mexico’s All-Time Winningest Coach” on the diamond.

However, that legacy is over after months of investigations, speculation, and rumors.

“The support I have gotten from my community in Rio Rancho, from all the ex-players, parents, business owners, it has been overwhelming. I mean all I really wanted in this whole thing was for the truth to come out,” said Ron Murphy, the former RRHS baseball coach.

The district investigation revealed he was misusing the school’s baseball fields for his private, club baseball team for years. He was put on leave and now he is officially out of the dugout.

He shared his side of the story Thursday and claims this is a bigger issue than just him.

“To be honest, all of the sports at both high schools use the facilities in the off-season. This has really nothing to do with Rio Racho baseball in my opinion. It was more about a personal vendetta of a couple of parents going to Todd Resch,” the former coach said.

In February, Murphy said he met with the Rio Rancho School District’s Human Resources Department and athletic directors, along with the lead investigator of his case.

In that meeting, he was told he owed the district more than $8,000 for using the high school fields.

Here is part of that recording:

Ron Murphy: The school knows I am doing it! We are on their facility.
RRPS Rep 1: Who knew that you were?
Ron Murphy: I gave our schedule to Debbie Garcia, the athletic secretary.

The recording continues when Murphy leaves the room to make that payment. That’s when one district director seems to acknowledge there’s known widespread misbehavior at Rio Rancho Public Schools.

RRPS Rep 1: I think there is an era of deception on many levels here… I think there is a lot of it that goes on, I don’t think it is just athletics. I think there are principles who are like, ‘Oh sure you can use some classrooms or whatever.’

In fact, at the same time Murphy was put on leave, so was former Rio Rancho High School Cheer Coach Wendy Lopez. The district officials on the recording imply there have been concerns with her before.

RRPS Rep 2: We have a couple of hundred notices of concern per year. I submitted the one this morning on Wendy Lopez.
RRPS Rep 1: On Wendy, yeah OK good.
RRPS Rep 2: It was addressed yesterday… There have been other issues with Wendy.

The officials also discuss what would happen if Murphy went public about his situation.

RRPS Rep 1: It’s going to be out there… and it certainly doesn’t help us. The good news is some stupid politician will do something and then it’s on to the next thing.

Murphy told KOB 4 he wouldn’t be surprised if other coaches, or even administrators throughout the district, see a similar fate to his.

“It is going to be interesting because I think this whole scenario really opened up the eyes of the district and how they do things. Once they get this feedback which I am sure they are getting right now from the community… they have to rethink things,” he said.

KOB 4 reached out to Rio Rancho Public Schools about what was said in the recording and the widespread allegations of misbehavior and here is what they had to say:

“As is standard procedure with all personnel matters within Rio Rancho Public Schools, we are unable to comment on specific details. The district is also unable to verify the authenticity of the content that Mr. Murphy has posted to his personal social media accounts, but it is important to clarify that we take reports of misconduct very seriously, and we investigate all credible complaints we receive and take appropriate action.

In the last several years, the federal and state governments have increased the emphasis on protecting taxpayer money and resources. The district has also increased its focus on these issues, particularly in the area of facility use and any instance where funds are collected from students for any purpose. A couple of years ago, we clarified the process for utilization of sports fields for private sports camps and club teams. All coaches were trained on these changes to ensure that they would be in compliance with these expectations.  

The focus of these changes was to ensure that individuals are not using district facilities for private gain without compensating the district for the use of the facilities, insurance, and maintenance.”

The full recording is available here.