In General News, Press Releases

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The New Mexico Activities Association, in conjunction with the NMAA Hall of Fame Committee, announces the Class of 2020 for induction into the NMAA Hall of Fame. The NMAA Hall of Fame induction ceremony and luncheon will be Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 12pm at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid Hotel.

The ring ceremony, presented by Herff Jones, will take place during the State Basketball Championships on March 12, 2020, at halftime of the 6:30pm game at Dreamstyle Arena.

The Inductees Are:

Dr. Crit Caton – Artesia Public Schools

During his almost 35-year career in education, Dr. Crit D. Caton served in numerous capacities, including teacher, coach, athletic director, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent in both New Mexico and Texas. His career started in Morton, Texas in 1986, where he was a teacher, coach and athletic director. In 1990, Dr. Caton moved to Artesia, N.M., spending the next 14 years as a coach and teacher at Artesia Intermediate and Artesia High School. From 1994-2004, Dr. Caton was the Principal at Hermosa Elementary in Artesia.

In 2004, Dr. Caton was named the Superintendent at Fort Sumner Public Schools until 2005, before moving back to Artesia and assuming the role as Principal at Artesia Junior High from 2005-2006. Following the 2006 school year, Dr. Caton moved to Atresia High School, where he served as Principal for the Bulldogs from 2006-2011. At the start of the 2011-2012 school year, he assumed the role of Assistant Superintendent for Artesia Public Schools, a position he held until 2012, when he was named Superintendent. Dr. Caton held the Superintendent position from 2012-2019 before retiring at the end of the school year.

Dr. Caton graduated from Hobbs High School in 1981 and attended Texas Tech University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1985 and his master’s degree in 1990. He later earned his doctorate from the same institution in 2005. Dr. Caton served on the NMAA Board of Directors for seven years and was named New Mexico’s Superintendent of the Year in 2017. He was also awarded the NMAA’s Outstanding Service Award in 2019 and was inducted into the NMCEL Hall of Fame in 2019.

Dr. Caton and his wife Carrie, have two children: daughter, Kirstin, a teacher at Artesia High School and son, Koby, an Athletic Trainer for Artesia High School.

Tom Manning – St. Michael’s High School

For over 45 years, Tom Manning has been a staple in the educational system in New Mexico. A graduate of St. Michael’s High School in 1967, Manning earned his bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University in 1973 and his master’s in 1981 from New Mexico Highlands University.

Upon completion of college, Manning worked as a P.E. teacher at Mesilla Park and Conlee Elementary in Las Cruces until 1979.  In 1979, Manning moved back to Santa Fe and has been either a coach, teacher or athletic director at three different schools, including DeVargas Middle School, Santa Fe High School and St. Michael’s High School, beginning in 2002 through present day.

Manning has coached a variety of sports over the years, including football, basketball, track & field and golf.  He currently serves as co-head coach of the boys’ golf team for the Horsemen, in addition to being full-time Athletic Director. Under his leadership as Athletic Director at St. Michael’s, the Horsemen have 52 State Championships, 111 district championships and three NMAA Director’s Cups.

Manning has served on several committees for the NMAA, including the Board of Directors, the NMAA Commission, various sports specific committees and seeding and selection committees. He also a member of the NMADA. He has been awarded the NMHSCA AD of the Year award, the NMADA AD of the Year award and the Santa Fe Public Schools Teacher of the Year award.

Manning and his wife have three children.

Ernest Viramontes – Las Cruces Public Schools

Ernest Viramontes has spent nearly 36 years at Las Cruces Public School as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal and athletic director. A graduate of Deming High School in 1979, Viramontes was a two-year letter winner in football and basketball. He was an All-District and All-State selection in football and an All-District pick in basketball. Viramontes was also involved in student council and National Honor Society at Deming High School.

Following high school, Viramontes attended New Mexico State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1983 and his master’s degree in 1993. He began his career as a P.E. teacher at Central Fairacres Elementary School in 1984, before moving to Picacho Middle School in 1987 as a P.E. teacher as well. He spent six years with the Scorpions before going to Sierra Middle School and for the next six years, Viramontes served as a school counselor and Assistant Principal. Then, in 1999, he moved to Las Cruces High School and was an Assistant Principal and Academic Dean until 2003.

In 2004, Viramontes moved to the Las Cruces Public Schools Central Office, where he first served as assistant Athletic Director for two years before becoming the district athletic director in 2006, a position he still holds today. During his time as district AD, Viramontes has been instrumental in several facilities improvements including the addition of the Field of Dreams baseball and soccer complexes, and the addition of turf on the Field of Dreams football field.

In addition to his teaching and administrative duties, Viramontes has coached track, football and basketball at the middle school and high school levels for LCPS.

Viramontes has also served the NMAA in several capacities, including the NMAA Commission and Board of Directors, sports specific committees, the NMAA Hardship committee, the NMAA Eligibility committee and the NMAA Classification & Alignment committee. He’s been named the District Athletic Director of the Year, the NMADA Athletic Director of the Year, was awarded the NMADA President Award in 2007-08 and was the NMHSCA Athletic Director of the Year in 2008-09.

Viramontes and his wife Emily have one daughter, Camryn

The NMAA Hall of Fame was established in 1976 and is comprised of an elite group of 108 accomplished individuals who have made significant contributions to interscholastic athletics and activities in New Mexico.  In order to be considered, nominees must show great support of the NMAA’s philosophy and objectives, they must have a combination of involvement in formulating regulations and procedures for various interscholastic education programs, and they must have a minimum of 25 years of service, 20 of which must have been in New Mexico.   Nominations are then screened by the NMAA Hall of Fame Selection Committee which consists of current and former leaders within interscholastic athletics and activities.  The committee meets in October each year and then selects a maximum of four individuals for induction.  The Class of 2020 – Dr. Crit Caton, Tom Manning, & Ernest Viramontes – will represent the 109th, 110th, and 111th members of this prestigious group.

For additional information pertaining to this release, please contact Dusty Young, NMAA Associate Director at (505) 977-5385 or dusty@nmact.org.

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