The University of New Mexico on Wednesday confirmed it is preparing to have two vacancies on its men’s basketball coaching staff should assistant coach Craig Snow be hired as the next head coach at New Mexico Highlands University.
New Mexico Highlands said Wednesday it has not offered the job to Snow or even confirmed he is a finalist for the men’s coaching position, vacated in April by former St. Pius stand out and Oregon State player Joe Harge.
“At this time I’m not able to give any information, but we are excited about the search process for both men’s and women’s positions and hope to have both filled in the near future,” New Mexico Highlands athletic director Jeff Falkner told the Journal on Wednesday.
Snow declined comment Wednesday. UNM head coach Craig Neal, in a text message, said UNM’s sports information department would issue a news release if it happened.
UNM athletics director Paul Krebs, however, told the Journal that the school is, in fact, preparing as though Snow will be gone.
If hired at NMHU, Snow is expected to take with him as an assistant coach current UNM video coordinator Brandon Mason, a former player at New Mexico State University, the Journal also has learned.
Snow, 35, was hired three years ago on the UNM staff by former head coach Steve Alford as the team’s video coordinator, moved up to director of basketball operations for the 2012-13 season and was an assistant coach this past season. UNM went 86-20 in those three seasons with NCAA Tournament appearances in each.
Aside from being mentored by Alford and Neal, Snow was an all-league player at the University of Evansville. There he played for current Saint Louis head coach Jim Crews, who has 409 career victories and was a US Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year finalist this past season.
Snow was also the head boys basketball coach and athletic director at Bosque School prior to working at UNM.
Mason, 32, has been UNM’s video coordinator the past two seasons, replacing Snow after he had been promoted after the 2011-12 season. Mason played at NMSU for Lou Henson, who has 779 career coaching victories.
Both Snow and Mason also played professional basketball abroad after their college careers.
NMHU went 11-15 this past season under Harge, son of former UNM star Ira Harge. In three seasons, Harge coached the Cowboys to a 97-70 record since taking over after the program’s 1-25 season in 2007-08.
NMHU competes in the NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
In addition to Snow and Mason, Neal’s staff currently includes associate head coach Lamont Smith, assistant Drew Adams and director of basketball operations Mike Iuzzolino.
NEW VEGAS HOME: The home away from home each March for the UNM Lobos men’s and women’s basketball teams is now moving to the strip.
After three years of the South Point Hotel and Casino serving as the host hotel to the teams, cheerleaders, band, administrators and thousands of Lobo fans during the annual Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., UNM on Wednesday sent an email announcing next year’s host hotel will be the Mirage Hotel & Casino.
Albuquerque native and New Mexico State graduate Jay Rood, vice president of Race and Sports Book for MGM Resorts International, which includes the Mirage, told the Journal in March of the likelihood of the Mirage hosting New Mexico for future tournaments. UNM and Mountain West officials at the time declined comment, saying host hotels for the league’s 11 basketball members for the 2015 tournament had not yet been finalized.
The 2015 tournament will be March 9-14 with the men’s portion being March 11-14, again at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Journal Asst. Sports Editor Mark Smith contributed to this article.