Three-win season or no three-win season, investigation or no investigation, karma or no karma, UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez said on Monday he fully expects Bob Davie to continue as Lobos head football coach.
“I’m in full of support of (Davie) right now on everything that’s going on,” Nuñez said in a phone interview. “… I feel like the trajectory of the program in his eyes and in mine — again, I’ve only been here less than three months — I feel we’re going to continue to make strides.
“He’s definitely got some players coming back that can make a difference, and I feel like it’s going to be exciting.”
In September, blogger Daniel Libit reported that Davie was being investigated for alleged player mistreatment and drug-testing irregularities. The university has acknowledged that an investigation exists but has never identified Davie as a target.
Last month, UNM interim President Chaouki Abdallah said the probe — begun in August — would continue.
“I’m not convinced right now that we have anything that we can act on, but we think we need to continue with this,” Abdallah said. “I’m not satisfied at this stage that we’re done with it.”
Nuñez said on Monday he has not been fully briefed on the areas of continued inquiry but doesn’t believe the investigation is focused solely on athletics.
“At this point I’m just waiting to see what transpires,” he said, “and if I’m told there’s something we need to address or look at, (we will).”
Regarding UNM’s 3-9 season, its 1-7 Mountain West Conference record and its seven-game, season-ending losing streak, coming on the heels of 7-6 and 9-4 seasons, Nuñez said he felt injuries took a significant toll.
He did not discount outside distractions — reports of the investigation and controversy stemming from five UNM players having knelt during the national anthem at the Air Force game on Sept. 30 — as factors.
“It’s unfortunate, because these kids deserved a better year,” he said. “… It was a difficult time for the coaches, and especially for coach Davie.”
Nuñez said he played no role in Davie’s decision, announced on Dec. 2, to fire offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse and cornerbacks coach Al Simmons.
“Coach and I have had some conversations about what he’s thinking, but those are his decisions,” Nuñez said. “I’m not going to intervene in that. Those are decisions that he has to make, and I know they were not easy.
“He was very honest and said, ‘Look, we’ve got to evaluate every aspect of our organization, and if I do make some changes it’s not going to be easy.’ That’s the way we addressed it.”
QB COMMITS: Sheriron Jones, a former Tennessee quarterback who played this season at Mount San Jacinto College in California, has committed to attend UNM.
Multiple online sources have reported Jones’ commitment. Jones himself has not announced it, but retweeted one of the online reports.
At Mount San Jacinto this season, Jones completed 208 of 393 passes for 2,162 yards with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He rushed 87 times for 345 yards and five touchdowns.
A four-star recruit out of Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, Calif., Jones redshirted in 2015 and saw scant playing time with the Vols in 2016. He announced plans to transfer to Colorado at one point but returned to Tennessee. He then left for Mount San Jacinto.
He’ll have two years in which to play two seasons for the Lobos.
As reported by the Journal on Monday, cornerback A.J. Greeley of College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., also has committed to UNM.
BOJORQUEZ HONORED: Lobos senior punter Corey Bojorquez is a member of an all-Group of Five team as selected by The Athletic, a subscription sports website.
Bojorquez, a first-team All-Mountain West selection, averaged 47.3 yards per attempt this season. The Group of Five encompasses the Mountain West, Conference USA, American Athletic, Mid-American and Sun Belt conferences.