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McCleery to be Inducted into WJCAC Hall of Fame

McCleery to be Inducted into WJCAC Hall of Fame photo 1/12/2018 10:31:00 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. For over 32 years, Steve McCleery dedicated his time and energy to build, advance, and lead New Mexico Junior College and its athletics programs into one of the premier higher-learning institutions in New Mexico. His hard work is being recognized Monday, January 15, when he is officially inducted into the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.  The ceremony will take place at NMJC’s Caster Activity Center between the women’s and men’s basketball games against South Plains.

Under his leadership, the Thunderbirds have won several National and Regional championships, as well as several individual national athletic titles, that have brought prestige to being a Thunderbird.

Arriving at NMJC in 1984 as Coordinator of Caster Activity Center, McCleery maintained and promoted a robust community fitness program, coordinated all NMJC Intramural programs, taught several classes, and managed all events at Caster Activity Center.  He was also the Thunderbirds Women’s Basketball coach for the 1986-87 season.

McCleery then became Director of Athletics in 1988, creating the Thunderbirds Booster Club to support all NJCAA sports at New Mexico Junior College. He oversaw all compliance issues and eligibility records for athletes, managed all athletic facilities, hired faculty, coordinated fitness programs, and served as liaison between the community, the staff and the athletic department.

McCleery’s career grew at NMJC, first as Dean of Arts and Sciences from 1991-1998, then as President of the college from 1998 until he retired in 2016. During his tenure, enrollment grew and facilities were added and remodeled, including new student housing, expansion of student services facilities, installation of smart technology in classrooms, a new workforce training center, a museum, and more. Assets of the NMJC Foundation were expanded to give more scholarships to deserving students; and online classes were created to offer additional educational opportunities.  The financial health of the college continued to grow under McCleery’s leadership, guided by strategic planning and master planning activities.

Steve McCleery was an exceptional leader, a trusted mentor to students and a groundbreaker in education.

Timeline for the evening of January 15 is:  5:45pm – Women TBirds (currently ranked #2 in the nation) vs South Plains College. Following the women’s game, the induction ceremony will be take place on the court. Afterward, friends and family are invited into the Booster Club to congratulate and talk with McCleery. The Men’s TBirds basketball game against South Plains will start at approximately 7:30pm.  Admission to the basketball games and the induction ceremony is $5 adults, $3 kids, and free for NMJC staff, students, faculty and Booster Club members.

For more information, contact Deron Clark, Director of Athletics: 575-492-2741 or

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