Melgoza's legacy remembered at memorial service

Melgoza children - Two of Erik Melgoza's children, Jordan Mallard and Blayze Melgoza, eulogize their father at the memorial service Sunday at the Alamosa High School gymnasium.

ALAMOSA – Former Alamosa High School coach and administrator Erik Melgoza was remembered at a memorial service Sunday at the AHS gym.

The gym was filled to almost capacity and it included people not only from the San Luis Valley but from as far away as Lamar where Melgoza previously coached its girls basketball team. Melgoza died Jan. 4 following complications from a fall at his home on New Year’s Day.

In the service, pastor Jeron Parkins of the Living Water Bible Fellowship read from the Book of Ecclesiastes and also reflected on Melgoza's life and career, which included leading the Lamar High School girls basketball team to the Class 3A state championship in 2017. He also talked about how Melgoza loved his children and grandchildren, and also his life outside of coaching as a farmer and rancher.

After a slideshow, the eulogies began.

AHS Principal Andy Lavier said that when Melgoza was hired as the school's athletics director, his reputation preceded him, and whatever he tried to do, he always tried to do it big. He also said that Melgoza had a way to make anybody he met feel special to him.

Aaron Jones, a long-time acquaintance of Melgoza's from his days in Lamar, spoke of how the two of them made each school in which they worked better.

He also mentioned a time when Melgoza, Jones, and some friends came to the San Luis Valley to go on an elk hunt. He said that they almost hit a bull elk on the way, and they saw it as a good sign. It wasn't.

Two of Melgoza's children, Jordan Mallard and Blayze Melgoza, also eulogized their father.

Jordan said that their father was always on the go and that he cared about everyone except himself. She also said that his legacy will always live on.

Blayze also said that his father's legacy will also live on. He said that whenever Melgoza had another grandchild that grandchild would be an All-American.

Parkins concluded the service with further readings from the Bible.

Personal thoughts

I first knew Melgoza when I began working at the La Junta Tribune-Democrat in 2010, while he was the girls basketball coach at Lamar High School.

We were just passing acquaintances as we would be in the same arena twice in a basketball season whether it was at Tiger Gym or the Lamar Community Building.

Melgoza's team would prevail in most of the meetings. It was ironic that his final game as the AHS girls basketball coach was against La Junta. Once again, Melgoza's team came out on top.

I knew of Melgoza's reputation from when I worked at the La Junta paper. Apparently, he also knew about mine as he turned out to be a good reference for me becoming the sports editor here at the Valley Courier.

As it turned out, we not only had a good working relationship but also a good friendship.

Goodbye, Erik and Godspeed.

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