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Basketball coach resigns

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Athletics > Fil Dominguez suddenly departs position

Another January, another sudden basketball coaching departure.
Los Alamos High School announced Monday afternoon that boys head basketball coach Fil Dominguez resigned his post earlier in the day.
Dominguez cited work responsibilities and the health of a family member as his reasons for leaving the team.
Longtime Los Alamos assistant coach, Mike Kluk, was named the interim head coach of the Hilltopper boys. Athletic director Vicki Nelms made the announcement to the team prior to their morning practice.
Kluk, who has been a top assistant on both the boys and girls teams for better than 20 years, said he felt a little “shell-shocked” by the announcement of Dominguez’s departure.
“This all happened so fast, but the rest of us coaches are going to try to pick it up,” Kluk said. “We’ll make some changes as we go. There probably won’t be any big changes, it’s a little late in the year for that, but maybe some little changes.”
A message left for Dominguez wasn’t returned as of press time.
Dominguez leaves a program that has struggled for several seasons and, in recent games, has been knocked around considerably.
The Hilltoppers failed to break the 30-point mark in two games during the school’s winter break and barely made it north of 30 points in another.
The final game under Dominguez was a lopsided loss at Taos Saturday.
Last Thursday, Dominguez was absent from a game against Albuquerque Academy as a family member fell ill and had to go to the hospital that day. Kluk served as the head coach of Los Alamos for that game.
This is the second January in a row that a Hilltopper head coach has stepped down in surprising fashion. In 2013, girls fifth-year head coach Tarah Logan left her position just days before the team was scheduled to start its District 2-4A season, citing family reasons.
Ann Stewart was named interim coach for the remainder of last season and was officially hired for the post in the spring.
Kluk started with the girls basketball program in the 1993-94 season as an assistant under longtime coach Gerry Washburn. Following Washburn’s departure in 2008, some familiar with the program thought Kluk would almost certainly be hired to take over, but Logan was picked instead.
Kluk now inherits a program that has gone just 2-28 in the last season and a half. Los Alamos won just one contest, a nondistrict contest against Class 3A Taos, in 2012-13 and managed just a Dec. 14 win against Bernalillo in the seventh-place game of the Joe Armijo Invitational so far this year.
Los Alamos’ players won’t have much time to make the mental transition from head coaches, either. The Hilltoppers will be at Pojoaque Valley tonight.
For now, Kluk said getting the team in the right state of mind will be his biggest priority.
“The general feeling is we’re going to have to promote a positive attitude,” Kluk said. “When you’re not winning, it’s a tough thing to do. To get that attitude better, changes needed to be made.”
Kluk said Dominguez has offered to give him any guidance he may need to get the team through the balance of the season.
Los Alamos has several tough games in a row, starting tonight. The Hiltoppers will also play Saturday against Los Lunas, which is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A this season, then follow that up with a date against defending 4A champ St. Pius X next Tuesday before facing Class 5A Sandia Jan. 17.