New recreation director, Josh Kerns, making it work

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Josh Kerns was hired in December 2012 as the city of Socorro’s new recreation director. He brings with him several years of experience running successful recreational programs in the area. He implements a positive philosophy for any current structure that will improve participation.

Elva K. Österreich/El Defensor Chieftain: The Socorro men’s basketball league final game wound up a successful winter season.

One such program he expanded was the organization of a men’s basketball league. Despite opinions to the contrary, Josh made it work. For the first time in a long time, Socorro had a men’s basketball league. Six teams participated in the league and it ran from January to March 2013.

The entry fee for each team paid for the officials for the games in addition to the student workers running the clock and the concession. Josh did not want the teams calling their own fouls because in his experience this method does not work. He implemented a “zero tolerance” policy for any player infractions. There were only two incidents during the whole season that resulted in potential altercations, but the situations were quickly brought under control.

“The officials Anthony Lukesh, Tanya Pyke and Chuck Ngo were instrumental to the program’s success as they are members of the New Mexico Officials Association,” Kerns said. “Without officials, it would have been very hard to have run a successful program. Officiating is not an easy job, but they were committed to the program.”

The success of the program was further supported by Mayor Bhasker and the City Council as the members often touched base with Josh on the league progress.

“I am thankful that the mayor and council members had enough confidence in me to even try something like this,” Kerns said. There were even a few members who attended some games.

He also posted the teams’ standings and statistics on the city of Socorro Recreation Department Facebook page, so that each team knew their position in the league.

The teams seemed to be pretty evenly balanced with some good competitive matchups and games. Every week, each team displayed great feats of athleticism: 3-point shooting essence of Jared Marquez, Charles Contreras, Clifton Guerro, Jorge Silva and Manual Lucero; power forward plays by the big men Evan Grain — who also had an awesome alley-oop in a game — Nels Iverson, Tyler Zuni, Kenneth Greenwood, Steven Hall and Anthony “Pansas” Maldonado; penetrating lane drives by Abel Morales, Ray Vaiza, Gabriel Baca, Tony Garcia and Michael Benavidez; and excellent defense by Jeremy Montano, Pete Silva and Jeff Jaramillo.

The Road Runner/A-1 Redi Mix team won first place in front of a crowd of approximately 50 people. Many Socorroans attended the games on a regular basis.

Now that the program has been established, he predicts more teams will participate. He plans to keep the program running with a similar philosophy next year.