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Davie departing as UNM head football coach

University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie is stepping down from his position at the end of this season. He’s pictured here with his team before the Aug. 31 game against Sam Houston. (Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bob Davie, as coach of the University of New Mexico’s football team, has told his team to “narrow the focus” several times during a tumultuous season.

Davie’s focus has now been narrowed to one final game in his era for the Lobos.

Davie, 65, who is in his eighth season at UNM, met with athletic director Eddie Nuñez Monday morning and they decided to mutually part ways after the season finale at home against Utah State on Saturday, Nuñez said Monday night.

Neither one would disclose the financial terms of the separation.

Davie has two years remaining on his contract that had been extended in January 2016 after he had guided UNM to its first of two consecutive New Mexico Bowl appearances the previous month. Under Davie’s contract, he was earning $422,690 a season as his base pay.

Nuñez would not comment on contract matters Monday night, saying that he will answer questions during a press conference scheduled for Tuesday.

“Timing is never ideal,” Nuñez said. “Right now the focus needs to be on the players, the seniors. More information will be discussed further in the future.”

Doug Brown, UNM’s Regents president, said, “The regents have left it to the administration as to what actions (the university will take) with respect to Bob Davie.”

“Dec. 10 is the next Board of Regents meeting and at that time I expect it will be on the agenda,” Brown said. “We’ll be presented with the actual documents at that point.”

The regents will assess and adhere to policy with regard to a possible buyout.

According to UNM policy: “The University shall not agree to pay a financial settlement without (a) an appropriate risk assessment of the case, (b) written approval by the Chancellor for Health Sciences, Provost, or Executive Vice President for Administration, and (c) final approval by the President. A financial settlement payment by the University of $400,000 or more must also be approved by the Board of Regents.”

The Lobos, losers of eight straight, are 2-9 and have gone 8-27 the past three seasons since earning those two straight bowl appearances in 2015 and 2016.

Davie has compiled a 35-63 record at UNM. He took over a program that went 3-33 from 2009-11 under coach Mike Locksley and interim head coach George Barlow.

Davie guided the program to 16 victories and the aforementioned consecutive New Mexico Bowl appearances in 2015-16.

“I’m appreciative of the work that coach Davie has done at UNM,” Nuñez said in a statement.

News of this coaching change did not come as much of a surprise. After the Lobos suffered a 45-31 loss to Hawaii on Oct. 26, Nuñez declined an interview with the Journal.

Davie declined to talk about the future of the UNM program during this season as losses continued to mount. After the loss to Hawaii, he said the loss was his responsibility.

“In stepping aside, I’m proud of what we accomplished at UNM, but we are all disappointed that we have not been able to sustain the success that we achieved and all desire,” Davie said in a statement. “My family and I will be forever grateful to UNM for giving me the opportunity to coach again after being at ESPN for 10 years.”

Davie, who coached at Notre Dame prior to his tenure at ESPN, part of a 33-year coaching career in college football, said he has never experienced a season such as this one.

The season began with Davie’s health scare in the season opener, when he collapsed before walking to his postgame press conference and was rushed to the hospital. Saga Tuitele, the Lobos’ offensive line coach, served as the acting coach for two games while Davie recovered from what was termed a “serious medical condition.”

On Nov. 5, UNM 21-year-old defensive lineman Nahje Flowers died unexpectedly. Albuquerque police determined the death to be by suicide.

Last month, UNM senior quarterback Sheriron Jones was indefinitely suspended after a student accused him of indecent exposure.

Last week, Davie announced 57 scholarship players were available against Air Force, down from the 83 players the Lobos started the season with. Davie said 14 players were out because of injury. There were also at least two players who redshirted and one other who transferred.

Adebayo Soremekun and Jay Griffin IV have missed games due to personal reasons. Davie did not reveal the other players or reasons because of university regulations, UNM said.

Journal staff writer Ryan Boetel contributed to this story.

 

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