Gov. Susana Martinez said she is “very sad” to see UNM basketball coach Steve Alford leave the team to coach at UCLA.
“It’s sad, it’s very sad, and I understand he has personal reasons for doing that,” Martinez told reporters Monday.
Alford announced Saturday that he is leaving UNM for UCLA with a seven-year contract paying about $2.6 million per year. Ten days earlier, Alford said he had agreed to a 10-year contract extension with UNM that would have paid a maximum $2 million per year.
However, Martinez, a regular at UNM games, said she still was optimistic that UNM basketball would continue to win without Alford at the helm.
“We have a great program, we have a great team. We want to keep that together, because I have no doubt we’ll have a winning season next year as we did this year, and even a greater season,” the governor said.
“Everyone needs to really stand behind those Lobos and make sure that they stay together,” Martinez said.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal