Joe Turner, who taught and coached at Moriarty High from 1976 to 2009, became the Moriarty Athletic Hall of Fame’s initial honoree on April 25.

In a ceremony emceed by high school Principal Rob Adams, several coworkers spoke about the former coach.

I was blessed to be coached by him in the 80s and on the sidelines with him in the 90s,” Adams said. Other candidates will need to follow some of Turner’s traits, Adams added, “being exceptional people as well as exceptional athletes.”

Gary Tripp was a former Moriarty athletic director who later became executive director of the NMAA. “Coach Turner took a big chance on a couple of young bucks [hiring himself and present AD Joe Bailey] in 1983,” Tripp said.

Bailey said he has known Turner, nicknamed The Phantom, since the 1960s in Fort Sumner, where both grew up, and said, “The Phantom is what we need in coaching today.”

Adams said forms for future candidates would soon be available at and a nine-member panel of administrators, teachers and community members has been set up to judge those nominations.