Carl Olen "Bill" Gentry
Carl Olen "Bill" Gentry, age 93,
passed away Sunday June 21,
2020. He was born in Slaton,
TX on September 14, 1926, to
Robert Roosevelt Gentry and
Maude Johnson. Bill grew up in West Texas during the dust bowl and great depression, leaving him to a childhood with less than ideal circumstances. From a young
age he would work the cotton fields with his family, often boasting the heaviest sack after a long day. Football found its way into his life at a young age as he played High School football for the Slaton Tigers. When he and the Tigers would play games away from home, they would ride together in the bed of a flatbed truck to get to the field. During his senior year, he graduated early so that he could enlist in the Navy. There, he found that he had met the certain pre-requisites to be a gunner on the Naval Ships. After his stint in the Navy, he went to play offensive line at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. He had played well enough there to achieve prospects from a few colleges, including Texas Tech University and the University of New Mexico. He decided to venture west from Texas to experience something new and found a new home as a Lobo. While playing football for the Lobos, he earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees. For reasons unknown, he wandered into Zimmerman Library where he noticed a cute girl working at the main desk- Mary Severns. When his football playing career was over, Bill moved back to Lubbock and became a police officer. While working in West Texas he never ceased contact with Mary, as they would write regular letters back and forth. All who know Mary will remember that moving to Lubbock was not an option. He moved back to Albuquerque to be married to Mary Severns after a short while. He and Mary found their home in Albuquerque, both becoming educators. Bill coached Physical Education at both Zia Elementary and Monroe Junior High school before returning to football in the form of a coach at the High School level.
He spent nearly four decades as a football coach in Albuquerque. It was at Highland High School where he got his first head coaching job in 1958 and where he spent the majority of his coaching career (31 years). After his run with the Hornets, he moved on to Eldorado High for seven more years. In his illustrious coaching career, his teams developed a reputation for their toughness, discipline, and attention to detail. He was a figurehead at the schools where he coached- and there is little doubt that "Gentry's Raiders" will forget those bus rides from the stadium back to the gym after a win. His record over the thirty-eight-year span was 305-102-5, winning three state championships with the Hornets and going to ten state title games overall. Following these wins were the legendary post-game parties at the Gentry household. When these late nights concluded, Bill would arise before dawn to prepare for the next opponent. He received many coaching honors including being named the National High School Football Coach of the Year in 1994 and has been inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame, the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame, the New Mexico High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Honor, and the University of New Mexico Lobo Hall of Honor. Bill retired from coaching in 1995. He coached and molded so many players and boys into young men, and had a lasting impact to all those who played under him.
Aside from the coaching career, Bill loved being a father and a grandfather. After retiring, he spent a lot of time with his family and would later become the biggest fan at all of his grandkids' sporting and life events. (He still observed a lot of those games through the eyes of a longtime coach). He loved spending time in the outdoors and looked forward to the annual "Big Trip", where the family enjoys a week in the mountains of southern Colorado fishing and camping together with the Jim Winter family.
His persistent, tough mentality carried him all the way through. Despite lifetime hardships, he was able to find unbelievable success and raise a beautiful family whom he whole-heartedly loved while creating a fantastic career. He will leave those nearest him with an endless amount of love, laughter, and memories which will be treasured and cherished forever. Bill was preceded in death by his two parents, a brother and two sisters. He is survived by his wife Mary, sons Billy (Anita); Tom (Kris) and his daughter, Marcy (Al) Baysinger, his sister Peggy Sullivan, nephew Mike Martin and grandchildren; Travis, Haley (Nick) Rose, Adam, Clayton, Sam and
The family would like to have a memorial for friends, former players, and coaches at a later date- pending covid restrictions. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Highland High School Alumni Association P.O. Box 80205 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87198.
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