Though there have been no reports of Craig Neal leaving the University of New Mexico, at least one potential future Lobo was happy to receive some reassurance on Sunday from the program’s head coach.
Jordan Hunter, a Houston-area point guard who has given a verbal commitment to be a part of UNM”s Class of 2015 along with Arizona recruit Dane Kuiper, took to Twitter on Sunday after a phone call with Neal. Hunter wrote: “‘I’m not going anywhere Jordan’ – Craig Neal #GoLobos”
"I'm not going anywhere Jordan" – Craig Neal #GoLobos
— Juice!! (@JordanHunter8) March 30, 2014
Hunter’s mom also posted a similar message on her Twitter account, writing: “UNM Coach Neal a few minutes ago ” I am NOT going ANYWHERE!” We do appreciate the call!”
UNM Coach Neal a few minutes ago " I am NOT going ANYWHERE!" We do appreciate the call!
— Amanda Hunter (@RN_Mandy) March 30, 2014
Neal and the Lobos went 27-7 this season, giving the first-year Lobos coach the most wins of any first-year coach in program history. He was also the first Lobos coach to guide his team to the NCAA Tournament in his first season.
Despite the success, and despite fellow Mountain West coaches at Boise State (Leon Rice) and UNLV (Dave Rice) receiving this weekend restructured deals (either through more money, extended contract years or both) after neither played in any postseason tournament, UNM Athletic Director has held firm that he will not rework Neal’s contract after just one season. Two weeks ago Krebs told the Journal “He’s in the first year of a five-year contract. We felt that contract was very fair when it was signed, and we look forward to Craig being here for many more years.”
In the past week, after a CBSSports.com report cited multiple sources confirming Neal was a target for the coaching job at the University of South Florida, the Journal asked both Neal, on more than one occassion, and Krebs for comment. Neal said he did not want to comment on the the USF situation and Krebs said he would no longer talk publicly about his stance on Neal’s contract, be it to restructure in any form or to stand firm with the current terms of the five-year deal.
Neal’s contract pays him a base salary and compensation of $750,000 and has a $1 million buyout clause should Neal leave before the end of the contract.
Both Hunter and Kuiper this past week were placed on Rivals.com’s Top 150 recruits list for the Class of 2015.