2011-09-21, McKinley Boston and Mark Trakh, NMSU Athletics

President Ross Ramsey rang the bell a little early (and a little more forcefully than his norm) as the meeting was to be very full.   After he called the meeting to order and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, Bill Wheeler gave the invocation, and Janet Green led the singing of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”  President Ross introduced Lorenzo Alba from Casa de Perigrinos, who thanked us for the $6,000 check raised by the Taste of Las Cruces and presented to his organization last week.  We greeted each other and the mystery greeter was Matt Holt. 

Singing "This Land is Your Land"President Ross introduced our student guests and the guests of members.  There were a few announcements about District Governor Bobby Wallace’s visit next week; he will speak at the club meeting, there will be a special board meeting at 4:00 at Adventure Travel, and there will be a dinner event for all Doña Ana County Rotarians at 6:30 at the Grapevine Events Center behind the Fairacres post office, north of Picacho.  More information is on the web site

President Ross convened a special business meeting of the club to consider a change to the bylaws, conforming our organizational structure to the revised Avenues of Service adopted by Rotary International last year.  Bill Harty presented the change, and the voice vote to adopt it was unanimous. 

The Program—McKinley Boston, NMSU Athletics, and Mark Trakh, NMSU Women’s Basketball

McKinley BostonSeptember program chair Wanda Mattiace apologized to the speakers for combining them in a single program, and introduced our first speaker, NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston.  Prior to NMSU, Dr. Boston has been the athletic director at Kean College, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Minnesota, where he was also Vice President for Student Affairs.  Prior to that, he was a football coach and director of student services at Montclair State College, which like Kean is in New Jersey.  He serves on the NCAA leadership council and the certification committee, and was a member of the men’s basketball committee for three years.  As a student, he was an all Big Ten football player at Minnesota, earning his bachelor’s degree before playing professionally for the New York Giants.  He earned a masters degree at Montclair State and his PhD from NYU. 

Dr. Boston agreed with Wanda that his spouse Magellia is more fun than he is, and thanked Wanda and Adventure Travel for saving the athletic department over $500,000 managing travel.  (She was appropriately fined.)  He talked about the major goals of the athletics department:  providing student-athletes a first class experience; improving the competitive position of each team within the conference, noting the rise to third place the past two years in the WAC Commissioner’s Cup; encouraging each student-athlete to provide at least fifteen hours of community service; and maintaining the excellent academic performance of the student-athlete group, whose GPA exceeding 3.0 and graduation rate of 67% both exceed the general student population.  He noted sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley’s season ending knee injury, hoping for a medical redshirt season, and announcing that senior Matt Christian would start at San Jose on Saturday. 

NMSU Athletics logoDr. Boston then talked about the change in women’s basketball coaches this year.  His goals for the program included finishing the top third of the WAC, and he did not see that occurring.  From the recommendations of others in his national network of contacts, he saw that Mark Trakh was the clear choice to be the new head coach.  Trakh’s record as a recruiter at Southern California was outstanding, bringing in the top rated class in the country in 2006, and following that with top 12 classes each of the following three years.  Prior to that, Trakh had success at Pepperdine, a school that competes at a similar level to ours, and at Brea High School, which he took from 49 straight defeats before his hiring to a state championship.  Dr. Boston then turned the podium over to Coach Trakh. Mark Trakh

Coach Trakh thanked the club for the chance to speak, and Dr. Boston and Maria Roth for the opportunity.  He thanked Wanda Mattiace for her help with travel and introductions to everyone, in town, in the legislature, and representing New Mexico in Congress.  He likes being in a community where people care about each other! 

He is excited about the team…everything is done as a team.  His team of coaches includes a third assistant who played for him at USC, and two lead assistants, one of whom played at Long Beach State, and the other, Jamie Shadian who was at the meeting, played against his teams both in high school ,where his team won in the California state playoffs, and as the point guard at San Francisco, where her team won seven straight times.  He loves to see the confidence and success of his student-athletes, and has a 100% graduation rate in 16 years as a head coach. Jamie Shadian and Maria Roth

The team is having a great fall, led by point guard Kaitlyn Soto and center Tabytha Wampler.  They are planning to play in the post-season, and need our help with a home court advantage.  He expects enthusiasm from the players, as well as 100% effort every game.  Their pre-season banquet will be held October 18 with the theme “Dawning of a New Era.”  To a question from Jim Parks, he noted that his recruiting class included several outstanding players, including two Australians. 

After the Program

Henry Broekhoff won the 50/50 drawing.  After President Ross reminded the Paul Harris Committee of their meeting immediately following the club meeting, Lya Jordan announced that $42 was raised for the Child Crisis Center project.  The 4-Way Test was recited to close the meeting. 

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians



Michelle Murphy

Howard Ness

Maria Roth

Wanda Mattiace

Jamie Shadian

Wanda Mattiace

Lorenzo Alba

George Miller

Jennifer Byers

Chris Dulany

Visiting Rotarians


Home Club



Student Guests



Ryan Stultz

Las Cruces

Bethany Blundell


Isaac Merry


Derek Davidson

Mesilla Valley Christian





Elaine Szalay

9/14, 9/21

Rio Grande

Submitted by Bill Harty Bill Harty