Cleveland High School boys basketball coach Sean Jimenez is heading off into the sunset, saying he wants more time in that sunlight with his wife Olivia and four kids.
Jimenez announced his resignation last week, saying he’d been thinking about it before the 2022-23 season, when the Storm finished 21-9 after falling in overtime, 64-62, to No. 2 Sandia in a quarterfinal meeting at The Pit – where Jimenez had once worked with the University of New Mexico coaching staff late in the 20th century. He retired April 26.
After that loss to the Matadors – their third setback in as many venues in 2022-23 – Jimenez vowed that with scorers like Daniel Steverson and Remy Albrecht returning for the 2023-24 season, “We’re gonna build off this. We’ll be back next year, I promise.”
Now, the “we” won’t include Jimenez, who enjoyed vast success with the Storm after succeeding the school’s original coach, Brian Smith, before the 2016-17 season. Jimenez went on to record of 144-56 in his seven seasons, with five consecutive final four appearances (2017-21) and the blue trophy in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season.
“It’s tough to see any coach resign,” said the City of Vision’s other boys basketball coach, Wally Salata of Rio Rancho High School.
Like Salata, Jimenez’s last high school hoops post before taking a job in the City of Vision was at Rio Grande High School.
“He did a great job coaching at Cleveland,” Salata said. “He was always in the mix for a state championship. We had a good working relationship.”
“It’s time for me to spend time with my family,” Jimenez said. “They’ve been patient enough these last seven years.”
He has a daughter graduating this month from CHS.
Jimenez’s highlight? It’s not bringing home the first championship trophy for the Storm, or beating Volcano Vista or Salata’s Rams, which have produced a lot of nail-biting contests.
“It has nothing to do with on the court,” he said. “It sounds stupid … but it’s being around the kids every single day. That’s what I’m gonna miss the most.”
Among those “kids” was Tre Watson, who earned All-State first-team honors in football and in basketball and is now playing football for Fresno State.
Watson called Jimenez recently and told him he really missed all the fun the Storm had at San Diego State team camps, which Jimenez regularly took his team to.
Jimenez said he plans to continue teaching, hopefully in Albuquerque, where the family has a home.
And he thanked the administration at CHS and RRPS, among them Larry Chavez, Scott Affentranger, Bruce Carver and Matt Martinez.