Davie to return for 2019 season, UNM confirms

Lobos head football coach Bob Davie, center, tries to encourage his players during their 31-3 loss last Saturday to Wyoming. UNM announced Friday that it is retaining Davie for the 2019 season. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Before a second straight 3-9 season ended, Bob Davie said he’s the best guy to be the head coach of the New Mexico football team.

The Lobos support him.

UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez met with Davie on Friday, and Nuñez said later that the 64-year-old coach, who has gone 33-54 in seven seasons with the Lobos, will continue to head the program.

Nuñez late Friday declined to comment to the Journal or elaborate on the decision beyond a statement prepared by UNM:

“After meeting with Coach Davie, both he and I are looking forward to the 2019 season,” Nuñez said in the statement. “Recruiting is already in full swing. Since taking over in 2012, the team has set records in the classroom, won a division title and qualified for two bowl games. Neither Coach Davie nor I were satisfied with the results of last season. Coach Davie and his staff, as well as our department, are striving to make the 2019 season a success, and that process has already started. Coach Davie wants to be at New Mexico and wants nothing more than a program that our University and our fans can be proud of. He is committed to working tirelessly to return UNM to the level of success in 2015 and 2016. We both are excited for the upcoming 2019 season.”

The Lobos have gone 1-7 in the Mountain West Conference in each of the past two seasons, with both years ending with seven-game losing streaks.

There were low attendance numbers this season at the six home games with an average of 16,587 announced crowds. The actual number of people who showed up appeared to be half of that.

The Lobos were inconsistent in a new spread offense after ditching the triple-option it had used for six seasons.

On defense, injuries at key positions didn’t help matters for a unit that struggled mightily against the pass and the run.

Davie had high expectations for that defense before the season began, saying that it had the potential to be the best during his tenure with the Lobos.

Also before the season, Davie said it would be a crucial campaign for him, as he was coming off a 3-9 season and then a tumultuous offseason that saw him serve a 30-day suspension for accusations primarily of racially insensitive conduct and inappropriate action regarding a sexual assualt accusation for one of his players.

During the season, Davie suspended senior linebacker Evahelotu Tohi after Tohi was involved in an altercation with teammate David Brown that left Brown in the hospital, according to a police report that said the incident took place at a party on Oct. 27.

Redshirt freshman free safety Marcus Hayes, who led the nation in punt return average (21.2 yards) and earned All-MWC second-team honors, and redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Rhashaun Epting, who led the Lobos in sacks (5½), announced via Twitter this week their plans to transfer out of the program.

If UNM were to have fired Davie for performance-based reasons through 2018, it would have owed him $1.27 million for the three years remaining on his contract.

Davie had his contract extended in 2016 after he led the Lobos to a 9-4 season that ended with a share of the MWC Mountain Division title and a victory in the New Mexico Bowl.

According to that contract, Davie is to be paid at $422,690.04 per year in base pay. He is also paid $200,000 a year for various “media agreements,” $100,000 from Nike, and $100,000 to promote UNM in the community.

Davie will be on the recruiting trail next week and is expected to arrive back in Albuquerque later in the week, when he plans to meet with the media, Nuñez said.

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