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Davie will return for 2019 season

December 3, 2018

Hold off on that classified ad.

University of New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nuñez said Friday night that the school has decided to retain the services of embattled football head coach Bob Davie. The two will appear at a news conference next week to reaffirm their commitment to one another for at least one more season.

UNM wrapped up its second straight 3-9 season last weekend, getting blown out at home by Wyoming before a crowd of 14,269 fans, the smallest of the season.

Rumors have swirled for months about Davie’s job security. A monthslong investigation initiated by the school last year led to his 30-day unpaid suspension in February. He was accused of verbal abuse of his players and support staff, as well as interfering with police investigations into his players.

He followed it with a second straight season in which the Lobos started 3-2, then dropped seven in a row. UNM’s 1-7 record in the Mountain West Conference left it in last place in the Mountain Division for the second year in a row.

“After meeting with coach Davie, both he and I are looking forward to the 2019 season,” Nuñez said in a statement. “Recruiting is already in full swing. Since taking over in 2012, the team has set records in the classroom, won a division title and qualified for two bowl games. Neither coach Davie nor I were satisfied with the results of last season. Coach Davie and his staff, as well as our department, are striving to make the 2019 season a success, and that process has already started.”

Davie was unavailable for comment. Nuñez said the entire coaching staff will be out of town starting Sunday morning for in-house visits with prospective recruits.

“We could have done all this right now, but the timing wasn’t right,” Nuñez said, referencing the weeklong wait before Davie meets the media.

Davie is under contract through the 2021 season. His annual base salary is $442,690, but is nearly doubled after incentives and perks built into his contract are activated. He is the highest paid coach at UNM, and his salary package is higher than the $400,000 President Garnett Stokes’ earns.

Had Nuñez fired Davie, the buyout for the remainder of the Lobos coach’s contract was about $1.3 million. That total amount was roughly $1.5 million for Davie and his staff. Two Lobos assistant coaches, offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove make a combined $425,000 in base payments annually.

Davie’s buyout drops to about $900,000 after next season.

Davie has been under considerable scrutiny for much of the last year. Time and again he told the media that UNM has failed to keep up with Mountain West rivals in terms of support and upgrades to facilities. Colorado State recently opened its new on-campus stadium and San Diego State has plans to build its own stadium in the next five years.

All the while, the public’s interest in UNM football has continued to wane. None of the six home games this fall drew more than 19,000 fans, and the season average dipped to its lowest figure since 1991.

What’s more, projected revenues from ticket sales and media rights were at their lowest point in years — all troubling signs for a school that is still reeling from drastic cuts to its athletic department. This semester, the school’s Board of Regents approved a measure proposed by Nuñez to eliminate men’s soccer, beach volleyball and men’s and women’s skiing.

Cuts also were made to football. This season marked the first time in Davie’s seven-year tenure that the team didn’t stay overnight at an Albuquerque hotel before home games.

Still, Nuñez said his coach and the school are on the same page with keeping the staff intact.

“Coach Davie wants to be at New Mexico and wants nothing more than a program that our university and our fans can be proud of,” Nuñez said in the statement. “He is committed to working tirelessly to return UNM to the level of success in 2015 and 2016. We both are excited for the upcoming 2019 season.”

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