University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie said Wednesday he has been assured his 30-day suspension would not be imposed during the Lobos’ spring practice, which began on Friday and will extend into March.
University President Chaouki Abdallah announced the suspension without pay, stemming from three investigations into Davie’s conduct, on Feb. 8. On Tuesday, the UNM Board of Regents declined to consider Davie’s appeal of the suspension.
After Wednesday’s spring-practice session, Davie said he hadn’t spoken with Abdallah or with athletic director Eddie Nuñez since being informed by his lawyer Tuesday evening that the Regents had chosen not to consider his appeal.
But, he said, “It was communicated to me before, (that) when the suspension was told to me that it wouldn’t affect our football team, wouldn’t affect our spring practice and (that) they would do what was best for the kids.”
Abdallah was out of town Wednesday and was unavailable for comment. But UNM spokeswoman Cinnamon Blair issued this statement:
“The University administration has not yet determined the start date of the suspension, as it is at the sole discretion of the President.
“Our top priority has always been the student athletes, and any decision will be (made) with their well-being in mind.”
A phone message left by the Journal for Nuñez was not returned.
Davie, asked what recourse he might have to avoid suspension in light of the Board of Regents’ response, said he had no comment.
As much as possible, he said, it’s business as usual.
“I’m out here coaching,” he said. “… I’m not getting up on any soapbox right now. I’m still who I am, who I was. All I came here to do was make this place better.
“I think we’ll all agree (that) how we make this better is that I focus on coaching this football team and these football players.”
Davie said he has kept his players updated on developments in the investigation while at the same time trying not to burden them.
“It’s a family,” he said. “So, every step of the way I’ve kept them abreast and made sure that they stayed out of it.”
Jalin Burrell, a senior cornerback, said the players have not allowed the investigation or the impending suspension to be a distraction.
“Coach Davie’s instilled in us that we just remain focused and remain on the task at hand, and he’ll deal with all that,” Burrell said.
“… Really, there’s nothing that we can do about it or that he can do about it right now, so we just have to endure the process and just keep our heads on straight.”
Wednesday, Davie was asked if the controversy surrounding him had made him think about quitting.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’ve got so much invested in all of this here … and I know we’ve made things better here.
“Things happen, and you deal with it and you move on the best you can, with class.”
Meanwhile, the Journal’s Jessica Dyer reported that the Board of Regents’ Tuesday vote on the Davie appeal will have to be re-done. The voting was done in an executive session, rather than in the open meeting as it should have been.
A special meeting will be held for the do-over, according to UNM administration.
Given that Tuesday’s vote was 6-0 against considering Davie’s appeal, a different result is not expected.