By Eric Butler
Basketball: Cowboys Stay Unbeaten as Shock Wins No. 700
Pete Shock's father was a longtime coach for the Cliff boys basketball team, 44 years in fact, so he had a lot to live up to when he replaced dad as the Cowboy bench leader.
You might say it has been a successful transition.
On Thursday (Jan. 24), Shock won his 700th career victory when Class 1A Cliff (18-0) won a road game at nearby rival Cobre – a 3A school. In the 60-41 victory, Jerett Mendenhall led the Cowboys with 17 points while Ryhan Peralta (14 points) and Calvin Rooks (12) also got into double figures for Cliff.
Cobre, with only a single win for the season, began the game with a deliberate, slow-down offense to keep the score low. The tactic worked for a while as only two points separated the squads at half.
"They came out and spread the ball on us. Five minutes into the game it was 4-to-4," said Shock, who trails only Ralph Tasker and Marv Sanders on the all-time coaching victories list in New Mexico. "We got enough consecutive possessions, to where we were able to pull away."
Shock calls his current group of Cliff Cowboys, "the most talented bunch I've had in several years."
Thanks to their ability on the basketball court, Shock is putting some more distance between the wins and losses on his own coaching resume.
And it was already quite a gap to begin with.
This is Shock's 36th year of coaching. In 33 seasons as a boys head coach, the last 30 at Cliff, Shock has accumulated a 700-213 win-loss record.
"There have been times where I thought, 'Is it time?'" Shock says. "I've always known that whenever I wasn't really looking forward to it, if I ever got to the point where I wasn't looking forward to practice, that I would know it's time then.
"It's remained a passion," he adds.
The only active New Mexico prep coach with more coaching victories is Sanders, currently the girls head coach in Capitan.
Ironically, Shock began his career as an assistant to Sanders at Silver High. When Sanders departed that school, Pete Shock took over the head coaching duties and stayed with the Colts for three seasons.
"I don't know that I'm chasing him (Sanders). He's way up there," says Shock, who occasionally catches up with his one-time mentor. "We'll go quite some time without visiting. But when we visit, we really visit hard."
It should have been no suprise to folks in Silver City when Shock left to coach Cliff in 1977. Shock graduated from the school in 1968 and was offered the job when his father Dale Shock stopped coaching.
Incidentally, Dale Shock garnered at least 422 victories in an amazing 44 years of coaching the Cliff boys basketball team. The actual figure is higher, but a few years of statistics were burned up in a fire at the school.
Pete Shock, 57, has other records under his belt besides those of a coaching nature. For instance, he's still Cliff's all-time leading scorer with 1,784 points.
"I would've given anything to see him play," says Brian Shock, a third-generation of Shocks in the coaching business, who's now head coach for the Aztec girls program.
"I've talked to some guys who played against him and he was absolutely tenacious," he says of his father. "They said, 'Yeah, he scored a lot of points. But, man, he was a better defensive player than he was offensive.'"
In his years as Cliff's head coach, Pete Shock has guided the Cowboys to seven state championships and made 11 total appearances in the title game.
His 1994 team went 30-0 in winning it all. The Shock troops this year include five seniors who are important pieces of the puzzle the Cliff coach is reluctant to praise individually.
That's typical, though. Brian Shock feels his father, who doesn't even recall where his 600th career victory was achieved, actually gets a little embarrassed about attention thrown his direction.
"That's a great lesson he's taught me and the hundreds of other players who have played for him," Brian Shock said. "As a Cliff Cowboy, everybody was taught to let your play on the court speak for you – rather than what you say you do on the court."