CHS gym master Charlie Savedra keeps an eye on a recent Cleveland High volleyball match; his daughter, Charity, is the Storm’s coach. (Herron photo)
RIO RANCHO – By all rights, Charlie Savedra should be residing right in the middle of Northern Boulevard.
His daughter Charity is the volleyball coach at Cleveland High School; her husband, Savedra’s son-in-law David Gomez, is the pitching coach at Rio Rancho High School.
Quite a dilemma, eh? Except, of course, the couple’s teams never meet.
If you’re a regular at Storm volleyball, football, basketball and some other sports events, you’ve probably seen Savedra running around, which comes naturally because he’s been around sports all his life.
He was raised in Socorro, where his father, a Korean War veteran, had an ice business and also worked at White Sands Missile Range; Savedra was a standout football player at Socorro High School (Class of 1971).
“I wanted to go on to play college ball; I wanted to go to the Air Force Academy,” he said, “(but) I didn’t get in.”
He did get a scholarship to play two seasons of football at New Mexico Military Institiute — where his idol, Roger Staubach, once played – and then east to Panhandle State University, where he again played football on a full scholarship for two seasons.
His degree was in health and physical education, with a minor in history.
“I wanted to be a teacher and a coach. Those were my goals at NMMI,” he said.
NMMI’s been good for him; he still tries at times to encourage standout high school football players to think about attending NMMI.
“I have a picture with (Staubach),” Savedra said. “I toured him when I was working there (years later).”
At NMMI, his stats for the 1972 season had him fifth in the nation in receiving in the National Junior Colleges Athletic Association, with 35 receptions covering 553 yards and seven touchdowns. He was the Broncs’ leader in all-purpose yardage.
Back in those days, you played more than one position; for Savedra, it was basically three: receiver on offense, defensive back on defense, and punt/kick returner on special teams.
Maybe having all those responsibilities, and performing each to the best of his ability, made him an adult MVP at Cleveland.
His teaching/coaching life began at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, and he started bouncing around from there to Cleveland.
After I went to Palo Duro High School, he returned to NMMI in 1981 as an assistant football coach.
“I went back and forth there – I was five years and then the superintendent in Socorro called me up, wanted me to be the athletic director, so I took that job, and then I went back to NMMI after about five years,” he recalled. “I was the assistant athletic director and coaching (receivers) again.
“I stayed there about nine years and then I went back to Socorro,” he said, chuckling. “I traveled a little bit. … (ultimately) as principal at Socorro High School for 11 years.”
To simplify the math, Savedra assessed his career as 16 years at NMMI and after those last 11 years at his alma mater in Socorro, where he retired in 2018 from public education, he spent time as superintendent of schools for Mescalero Apache Schools for four years.
“I’ve been retired three years,” he said. “My journey is what brought me here to Rio Rancho.”
Charity Gomez left her job as volleyball coach at Portales High, and Dave Gomez left his job as baseball coach at ENMU, and Savedra decided he and his wife would also move to the City of Vision to help raise their three grandsons.
“Charlie is a great person to have for events,” says CHS Athletic Director Matt Martinez. “He has a ton of experience and helps with whatever is needed.
“He does a great job taking care of officials when they come to our school,” said Martinez. “He takes care of the 25/40 (play clocks) for football games and helps out with the clock for basketball games as well. He always takes care of business and I always enjoy having him at all our events.”
And, Martinez could add, you can’t beat the price: Savedra does it all on a volunteer basis. He and his wife volunteer at Enchanted Hills Elementary; he helps with crosswalk duty in the morning, she helps in the library.
He thoroughly enjoys his duty on the street, making sure the kids arrive there safely.
“I give them high fives, I give them fist bumps. I tell them to have a god day at school, and some of them are crying,” he said. “I tell them it’ll be OK, man, you’re going to have a good day in school.
“And that’s what motivates me – to continue to do good things for the kids. That’s what matters to me and my wife the most, the kids.”
In spite of his passion for sports, topped by Storm volleyball matches and Rams baseball games, his passion for education ranks even higher.
“All my kids have college degrees,” he lauded.
His wife Charlene, is a retired educator, with a BS in home economics from Panhandle State; son Charlie Jr., works at Cleveland High School and helps coach the Storm’s powerlifters, and got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at ENMU, where he played four seasons on the football team; daughter Charity obtained her bachelor’s degree at SMU, where she later coached volleyball, and she obtained her master’s through New Mexico Highlands University; daughter Charee, who works in the movie business in California, got her bachelor’s degree from UNM. And son-in-law Dave Gomez got his degree from Louisiana State University.
And Savedra wasn’t done with his education – he’s been in that field for 45 years — after Panhandle State; he received his master’s degree in administration through Kansas Newman University.
“Just seeing the kids play and doing whatever I can to make it a great atmosphere – I’ve always done that my whole career, make it the best place for them to come and enjoy a game. Kids, parents, family – for them to enjoy games,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
His best advice after all his years of playing, coaching and administering?
“You have these big, big goals, that you want to go out and do these things. Chop them down a little bit,” he advised. “Set some goals but don’t go beyond – to another planet – to make these goals, because you’ll discourage yourself.
“What it boils down to is education. That’s gonna take you far and beyond playing time,” he continued. “There’s more to it (than being a pro athlete). … Focus on making good choices – that’s the key to your success.”
Good advice from a guy whose whole family knows success.