Former Las Animas High School student-athlete and long-time baseball coach at Garden City (Kan.) Community College Joe Slobko passed away on May 5. He was 83.
While at Las Animas, Slobko earned 13 letters in football, basketball, baseball and wrestling.
He was an all-conference quarterback and was all-state in basketball.
After high school, he moved on to the University of Northern Colorado where he earned a degree in physical education with minors in business and social studies.
He then joined the U.S. Army and spent the duration of his deployment in Korea.
He began coaching at Snyder High School in Snyder, Colo., and was in charge of the eight-man football program as well as the baseball, basketball and track teams.
After one season at Snyder, Slobko returned to Las Animas, where he spent 11 years as the head baseball and basketball coach. He led the Trojans to state baseball championships in 1968, 1972 and 1973, and he was named Colorado Coach of the Year three times. He finished his tenure at Las Animas with an overall record of 150-50, which included nine conference championships.
Slobko moved on to Garden City C.C. in 1976. He won 782 games in 22 seasons. He won five division championships and had 18 winning seasons.
Slobko retired at Garden City in 1997.