Politicians ask community to support UNM football, wear red for ‘Lobo Fridays’

They want to paint the town red.

In fact, they want you seeing red in Albuquerque before every home game for the Lobos football team the rest of the season.

Several state, county and city politicians, led by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas and City Councilor Ken Sanchez, announced on Friday, along with University of New Mexico Lobos football coach Bob Davie, they are spearheading an effort to kickstart “Lobo Fridays” — a community-wide show of support by wearing UNM’s cherry red — the day before every UNM home football game this season.

“This is a great idea, and quite honestly couldn’t come at a better time,” said Davie, entering his seventh season as the Lobos coach but coming off arguably the most tumultuous year in his tenure in Albuquerque on, and off, the field.

“I think the great opportunity that athletics provides is the chance to bring people together. Root for your team. Root for the Lobos. Have one common goal. There’s no question, there’s no denying that over the last year, there’s been a lot of complicated dynamics within this university and within Lobo athletics. But there’s also no denying that it’s time for everybody to come together.”

Davie said it’s time to get the momentum back in the UNM athletics department and with his team, and starting a tradition — albeit a common one in college and high school towns around the country — of having the entire community wear the school colors of the local college team is a good start.

The football team kicks off the season Saturday at 6 p.m. in Dreamstyle Stadium against Incarnate Word. As of Thursday, UNM had sold 8,200 season tickets for the coming season, down from 9,227 at the same point last season.

Maestas, a lifelong Lobo football fan, said healing the wounds of UNM athletics can come from football.

“We all love the Pit, but there’s no greater vehicle, in my opinion, to bring this community closer together than Lobo football — a stadium that can hold 45,000 people standing room.”

Added Sanchez, who delivered a copy of an official city proclamation for Lobo Fridays this fall, support of all Lobo sports would help the entire community. He and Maestas have been among the more vocal state politicians in recent weeks asking UNM’s Board of Regents not to cut sports, which the board did in a unanimous vote on Aug. 17 citing both Title IX gender equity and financial factors.

“United, we can make a difference in bringing dollars and revenue to UNM,” Sanchez said. “At the same time, I’m not giving up hope. I am hoping that the Board of Regents reconsiders their position this coming year in keeping the four different sports, especially soccer.”