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Breaking: UNM to hire Craig Neal as new men's basketball coach

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Craig Neal coaches from the sidelines during UNM's game against Wyoming on March 2, 2013. UNM announced on April 3, 2013, that Neal will be hired as the team's next head coach. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Craig Neal coaches from the sidelines during UNM’s game against Wyoming on March 2, 2013. UNM announced on April 3, 2013, that Neal will be hired as the team’s next head coach. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

UPDATED: Click here for the full, updated story on the Craig Neal hire that appeared in Wednesday’s Journal.

The Journal has learned Craig “Noodles” Neal will be named New Mexico’s next men’s basketball coach on Wednesday.

The contract will be for five years with a base salary and compensation package of $750,000 per season, plus undisclosed performance incentives.

“I love the fans of New Mexico and am very happy to be their new head coach,” Neal told the Journal in a text message.

Shortly after the news broke, UNM Vice President for Athletics sent out a very simple tweet confirming the news to the masses that read simply “Noodles.”

The 49-year-old Neal, known since high school to most by the nickname Noodles, was a standout player at Georgia Tech and played in the NBA and has served as Steve Alford’s associate head coach for the past nine seasons (six at New Mexico and three at Iowa).

Alford announced Saturday he would be leaving the Lobos to take the head coaching job at UCLA, where he was formally introduced on Tuesday.

“I am so very happy for Noodles,” Alford told the Journal Tuesday night in a text message. “He’s earned this. He’s so ready to be a head coach. I’m so pleased he is leading the UNM program. Wow, great day!!!”

There is a press conference scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Check back later for more on this breaking story.

 
More about UNM’s coaching transition:

 

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