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Bob Davie said he is not concerned with being on the hot seat or the longevity of his tenure as head coach of University of New Mexico’s football team.
Rather, he is motivated to return the Lobos to what they were two years ago, coming off back-to-back bowl seasons, he said during a press conference that lasted roughly 45 minutes on Tuesday.
Davie, who turns 65 in September, enters his eighth season with three seasons remaining on his contract. He is trying to turn around a program that has suffered back-to-back 3-9 seasons.
He was asked how long he wants to continue coaching, if he wants another extension, and how does that affect his recruiting.
“As soon as you think about getting fired or the fear of getting fired or the fear of results, you’re gonna get fired,” said Davie, whose team begins practices Friday in preparation for the upcoming season that starts Aug. 31 against Sam Houston State at Dreamstyle Stadium. “Because now you have done something different and looked at coaching through a different lens. So that’s no factor to me.”
After last season ended with a seven-game losing streak for the second straight year, UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez said he supported Davie.
Yet, conventional wisdom suggests this next offseason must be one of action on the UNM head coaching job.
If the Lobos live down to the expectations of their prediction of a last-place finish by Mountain West Conference media, that will mean a third straight losing season. It would be a hard sell to suggest that UNM football is anything but dead in the water.
On the other hand, if the Lobos have a bounce-back campaign and exceed expectations, Davie and the university could want to continue the relationship. But that almost certainly would require a hard decision on an extension. To give one, UNM would have to be confident that Davie’s direction is the right one going forward. Withhold one, and Davie understandably would perceive it as a lack of confidence and a handcuff in recruiting. No head coach wants to tell prospects he likely will only be on the job their first two seasons of college.
Davie is paid $822,690 in what includes his base salary, program promotion, media obligations and apparel. If UNM were to buy out Davie’s contract after this upcoming season, the university would have to pay him monthly installments of $35,224.17 through the expiration of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021.
Davie stressed that he honestly is not thinking if his job is on the line. He has other motivating factors.
When he talked about longevity, he revealed a statistic: there have been 30 head football coaches in UNM history before Davie; the average tenure for the coaches is 3.7 years.
“If longevity in a leadership position at the University of New Mexico is your No. 1 concern, you shouldn’t be at the University of New Mexico,” Davie said. “There have been four presidents (at the university) since I’ve been here, three athletic directors, three basketball coaches. Basketball is a pretty good job here. If it was longevity that I was worried about I probably would have left after my fifth year. I’m smart enough to realize what this job is here on leadership levels.
“I’m motivated simply by having the energy, the love, the competitiveness to do what I do. And, then it will be somebody else’s decision. That’s what coaching is.”
Davie said that because of maturity — a career that has included 32 seasons as a collegiate head coach and 10 years as a broadcaster for college football at ESPN — he is comfortable in his own skin.
“I’m going out there coaching every day like it’s my first year here with the same kind of energy,” he said. “In a lot of ways it is like my first season. And, I think that’s a good thing.”
QB SITUATION: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tevaka Tuioti might miss the start of the Lobos’ fall practices because of a family issue. Tuioiti, who is perceived to be the favorite to win the quarterback job, is at a hospital in California with his family. His grandfather “has a health condition,” said Davie, who noted there is no timeline on when the starter will be named.