Cruz Cortes, who spent this past season as an assistant men's soccer coach, was chosen the new head women's soccer coach for Otero Junior college. Cortes welcomes the chance for a new role with the Lady Rattlers.

"I am looking forward to this new journey," Cortes said. "I know it is going to be a successful transition with the group of players returning next year. I look forward to learning and growing as a coach with the help of the coaching staff and my new team."

More than anything, Cortes emphasized the good fortune of the opportunity provided to him.

"I want to thank Chris Smith (men's soccer coach) and Sierra Doherty-Cardenas (outgoing women's soccer coach) for all of their support," Cortes said. "They, along with Jim Rizzuto, Jeff Paolucci and Gary Addington, have made this transition very comfortable."

Cruz is a great addition to our coaching staff," Addington said. "Having worked under men's coach Chris Smith last season, he gained experience in all aspects of the coaching profession from the administrative parts of the job to recruiting. He is a relentless recruiter, which is extremely important as a head coach.

"Cruz has a positive attitude and has a tremendous work ethic," Addington added. "I know he will do a great job leading the women's soccer team in all aspects of the program. In addition, Cruz was a student athlete at OJC, so he understands the philosophy of OJC and OJC athletics."

A standout soccer player during his time at Otero Junior College, Cortes earned an Associate of Science degree before transferring to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He will complete his Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration through UNLV this summer.

Otero Junior College's mission is to provide quality higher education that is accessible, transforms lives, expands employment opportunities, enriches communities, promotes individual and global cultural diversity and fosters economic development.