Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Coach's Death Starts Year on Unexpected Sad Note.(Sports)

Byline: James Yodice Journal Staff Writer


* St. Pius' Giannini succumbed to heart attack in early January

The first half of the 2000 sports season began with tragedy, anger and change. It didn't quite end on such an unpredictable note.

In early January, New Mexico was stunned by the death of legendary St. Pius X football coach Ray Giannini, who was claimed by a heart attack at age 58. Giannini coached the Sartans from 1970-88, and St. Pius won the Class AAA state title in 1973. He would live just long enough to see the Sartans win the 1999 title.

Later, St. Pius introduced the Ray Giannini Memorial Award, to be given each year to the Sartan player who best exemplified Giannini's attributes. Jason Menicucci was the first recipient; he went on to play for Western New Mexico in the fall.

On Jan. 10, Rio Rancho High School promoted 31-year-old assistant coach Wilson Holland to coach the Rams. He took over for Bill Moon, who had a 6-24 record in three seasons. …

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