FOR THE RECORD: Apollo Wright, the University of New Mexico’s new running backs coach, was retained as a member of the staff at Florida International after new FIU head coach Ron Turner took over the program. This story erroneously stated that Wright had been cut loose in the coaching transition at FIU.
Wright will coach backs, Baumgartner the wide receivers
Two experienced and well-thought-of college football assistant coaches, cut loose at their previous schools because of changes at the top, have found a home at New Mexico.
Apollo Wright and Scott Baumgartner complete UNM head coach Bob Davie’s staff for 2013.
Wright, who spent the past six years at Florida International, was announced Tuesday as UNM’s new running backs coach.
Last week, it was announced Baumgartner will coach wide receivers at UNM. He held that position at Nevada the past nine years under head coach Chris Ault.
Baumgartner became available to UNM after Ault retired after the 2012 season. Brian Polian, hired as Ault’s replacement, chose to hire a new wide receivers coach.
Wright comes to New Mexico under similar circumstances. After FIU coach Mario Cristobal was fired, new head coach Ron Turner hired a new staff.
Before Florida International, Wright had worked at LaSalle, Wagner College and Villanova. He’s a 1998 graduate of Cheyney (Pa.) University, where he started for two years at quarterback.
While at Villanova, Wright coached future NFL All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook. In 2001, Wright’s first year at the school, Westbrook rushed for 1,603 yards with 22 touchdowns and won the Walter Payton Award as the NCAA Division I-AA Player of the Year.
“(Wright) brings a wealth of experience,” Davie said in a news release. “… He has consistently produced very talented and productive players.”
Baumgartner coached at Pacific (his alma mater, where he was an all-conference wide receiver), West Valley College in California and Central Missouri State before moving to Nevada in 2004. He’s credited with having significant input into the development of Ault’s signature pistol offense.
New Mexico, under Davie and offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse, runs an option-heavy offense out of the pistol formation.
Under Baumgartner’s tutelage, Nevada had a first- or second-team all-conference wide receiver each of the past five seasons.
“I have always thought highly of Nevada’s program and what they have been able to accomplish there,” Davie said, “and Scott was obviously a huge part of that success.”
Baumgartner replaces Taylor Stubblefield, now the wide receivers coach at Wake Forest. Wright replaces DeAndre Smith, now the running backs coach at Syracuse.
CALLING WALK-ONS: A meeting for prospective walk-ons is scheduled at 4 p.m. today on the second floor of the Tow Diehm Complex. A tryout session is scheduled Feb. 27. Those wishing further information should call the UNM football office at 925-5700.
SPRING PRACTICE: The Lobos are scheduled to begin spring drills March 26. According to NCAA rules, they have 34 calendar days in which to complete 15 practices.
Last year, UNM began spring drills March 23 and finished April 25.
A FOX IN THE WOLF PACK: David Fox, who worked in and around UNM athletics from 1995-2007, is the new director of football operations at Nevada.
Fox came to UNM in 1995 as a football graduate assistant under coach Dennis Franchione. He was an academic adviser from 1997-2007, then spent one year as media relations director for the New Mexico Bowl. He went into private business before returning to athletics as Tulane’s football operations director in 2010.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal