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Litigation referenced in UNM/Davie split

Now-former University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie is shown in last Saturday’s season finale. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Splitting with Coach Bob Davie appears to be as difficult as winning a game.

The Board of Regents of the University of New Mexico on Friday afternoon posted the agenda for its meeting Tuesday morning – a meeting that Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez has said would be the first time that details of UNM’s separation agreement with Davie would be revealed.

The agenda doesn’t mention Davie, a football coach, a financial settlement or anything else that appears that it could refer to Davie’s departure from the university with two years left on his contract. But Cinnamon Blair, a spokeswoman for the university, said the Davie matter will be taken up in executive session under an item labeled: “Discussions subject to attorney-client privilege pertaining to threatened or pending litigation as permitted by Section 10-15-1(7), NMSA (1978.)”

Nuñez and Board of Regents President Doug Brown didn’t return calls for comment on Friday.

UNM officials had previously described Davie’s departure from the team as a mutual agreement, so it’s not clear how a possible lawsuit has become part of the split.

UNM on Nov. 25 announced that Davie and UNM had “mutually agreed to part ways.” Davie, at a subsequent press conference, would not comment if the decision for him to step down was indeed mutual.

“I’m going to let the athletic director answer that,” he said.

Davie coached the Lobos for eight seasons, amassing a 35-64 record, including records of 3-9, 3-9 and 2-10 in the last three seasons. His tenure included a victory in the New Mexico Bowl in 2016. It also included a suspension in 2018 linked to a case that was part of a now-settled lawsuit brought by a woman who alleged the university didn’t properly handle the investigation after she reported she was raped by a former Lobo football player.

A Journal review of Davie’s contract shows he is owed about $845,000 in the next two years.

Both the amount of Davie’s separation agreement and exactly where that money will come from is unclear. The UNM Athletics Department for years has struggled to make budget, and the department is currently facing a deficit-reduction plan in which it has to pay back the university about $4.7 million over 10 years as a result of consistently failing to stay within its budget.

Last month, on the day UNM announced that Davie wasn’t going to coach the Lobos next year, Regent President Doug Brown said that the Davie topic was expected to be on the agenda for Tuesday’s regents meeting.

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

Regents and other high-ranking university officials including UNM President Garnett Stokes must be involved in decisions such as the one to end Davie’s contract, according to UNM policy.

According to 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.”

Journal Staff Writer Steve Virgen contributed to this report.


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