ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse and cornerbacks coach Al Simmons will not return next season, University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie announced Saturday.
In a news release, Davie gave no reasons for the move, only thanking them for their contributions to the program.
After back-to-back winning seasons and bowl appearances in 2015-16, the Lobos were 3-9 this fall, 1-7 in Mountain West Conference play, and lost their last seven games.
After a season-ending, 35-10 loss at San Diego State, in answer to a question about possible staff changes, Davie said, “Absolutely. Everything is on the table.”
DeBesse is the only offensive coordinator Davie has had at UNM since taking over the program in 2012. DeBesse’s triple option-based offense has been a cornerstone in the development of the program.
The Lobos led the nation in rushing last year, averaging 350 yards per game. But the offense faltered this season as UNM went 3-9 and lost its final seven games. New Mexico scored an average of 20 points per game and 240.8 yards rushing per game, both totals the lowest during Davie’s six-year tenure.
Simmons came to UNM from Colorado State in 2015. During his tenure, cornerback has been considered among the stronger groups on the New Mexico defense.
Both coaches said that, while deeply disappointed, they respected Davie’s decision as his to make.
“Obviously it’s his prerogative as the head football coach,” DeBesse said, “to decide if he wants to go in another direction offensively, schematically, a new voice, the whole thing.
“I was disappointed, because we really liked it here, (his wife) Janet and I. … I’m really proud of what we’ve done here.”
DeBesse said he didn’t know what Davie had in mind for UNM’s offense in the future. He has faith in the viability, he said, of the system he brought to New Mexico from Sam Houston State in 2012.
“I’ve got some pride, some strong feelings about our system and our scheme,” he said. “It’s been pretty good, in fact, really good.
“I would suspect he’d retain some of it, but I can’t really speak to that because he didn’t share that and I didn’t ask.”
DeBesse said he was less surprised by Davie’s decision than disappointed.
“I think it was more a reflection of what’s been done lately as opposed to a body of work,” he said. “But I understand that, too, in this day and age of college football.”
He said he would have liked to be part of the turnaround Davie hopes to effect next season.
“I hate to see it, to think that it ended on as difficult a year as it was,” he said. “That’s what I hate.”
Simmons said he believes Davie already has someone else in mind for the cornerbacks coaching job.
“He just wants to go in another direction, and I totally respect his opinion,” he said. “… He knows the avenue that he wants to take with this position, and it’s time for me to move on and hope that something else will work out.”
Both coaches said they leave with respect for the man who hired them and dismissed them.
“We had a great working relationship,” DeBesse said. “He’s been very trusting. He’s let us go, let us work.
“I think the results have justified him trusting us to let us work.”
Simmons said, “I have nothing but good things to say about coach Davie. I think he’s a hell of a person and a hell of a coach.”
Davie, reached via text, said he had no comment beyond the news release.
“Let Bob and Al comment,” he texted. “2 good guys.”