By David Tesitor
Walsenburg- To current John Mall Athletic Director, Pete Gomez, it’s “all about the kids.” Even so, during his career he has amassed quite a resume for himself. In what can be described as his second go at high school athletics, Gomez came out of retirement this year to take on the role of AD for the Re-1 school district.
This modest man has had a lifetime of successes and accolades. Gomez served as Re-1 high school wrestling coach from 1973 through 1990 and as athletic director from 1985 through 2002, four years after he retired from the school district. During his time at Walsenburg High and John Mall, Gomez coached three State Champions, two State Runners-up and twelve State Placement winners. Outside of CHASA, he coached to victory one National Junior Greco Champion and one National Greco runner up Champion as well as various other wrestlers who competed on the national level.
During his tenures as coach, he has always emphasized the kids. He has worked with many students since they were small children and watched them develop into outstanding athletes. Perhaps this was one of the reasons Gomez came back. He thrives on seeing the success of the teams and the individual successes they have brought to this community.
Even after his retirement, the Panthers have sent wrestlers to the State Tourney every March. While Gomez says that it
was due to the kids and the succession of coaches that came after him, I feel that because of the groundwork Pete Gomez laid, the desires and commitment to wrestling lingered long after his departure.
Surprisingly, with all this wrestling expertise, Gomez never wrestled at the collegiate level. He attended TSJC where he received his Associates degree in 1963. After a one year hiatus, he worked in construction until going on to Adams State College and graduating in 1966.
What makes this man interesting is not just what he has done for John Mall sports, but what he has accomplished outside of Walsenburg. In 2006, Gomez was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for his work as an official in the sport of wrestling. He began his career as an official in 1975 and since then has traveled all over the world, officiating in Mexico, Canada, France, Finland, Sweden, the former Czechoslovakia and Australia to name a few. Gomez has officiated in almost every final round in every foreign country he visited, including the Pan American Games in Mexico. It was during this time that he received international acclaim as an official.
Gomez also served on the Colorado High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control (1999-2002) which works on policies and procedures, and currently serves on the Appeals Committee, the governing body designed to resolve disputes which arise from eligibility and other matters. He presently serves as the head official and director of the International Sports Specialists based in Australia where he and his wife run two events on the Gold Coast.
Pete is not the only ‘wrestling’ figure in the family. His wife Ina is a Paring Master and arranges the brackets for many international events. His son, Pete Gomez III, was a state champion and National Junior Greco Roman Runner-up.
Pete Gomez is a quiet and unassuming man whose only concern is the development and successes of the children he has coached. Whether he is coaching or standing on the sidelines, Gomez feels that success and character comes from discipline.
If that is the case, then this former construction contractor, turned teacher and coach has built a great house.