UNM’s Sanchez To Get Promotion
It appears that home-court advantage will pay off for Yvonne Sanchez.
The search for Don Flanagan’s replacement as University of New Mexico women’s basketball coach could end as soon as today with Sanchez, the program’s associate head coach, taking over the top job.
Sources close to the situation told the Journal on Thursday night that Sanchez has been offered the head coaching position and plans to accept it.
Neither UNM athletic director Paul Krebs nor Sanchez would comment on the reports, though Krebs and university president David Schmidly said earlier Thursday that the coaching search was nearing an end.
Sanchez, 43, worked as an assistant coach under Flanagan for the past 11 seasons, including five as associate head coach. Flanagan stepped down April 4 after 16 seasons at the school, and Krebs immediately named Sanchez interim head coach.
Since then she has conducted workouts with UNM’s returning players, made recruiting trips and announced the signing of junior college All-American Deeva Vaughn for next season.
Sanchez is one of four candidates interviewed for New Mexico’s permanent head coaching job. A Los Alamos native who played high school basketball under Flanagan at Eldorado, Sanchez has received considerable support from former Lobo players, rival coaches and local fans in her bid to land UNM’s head job. She is the only candidate university officials have confirmed would be interviewed.
Krebs, as he has throughout the search, declined to name or comment on other candidates Thursday.
Three have been identified by numerous sources: Bowling Green State University head coach Curt Miller, Texas A&M associate head coach Vic Schaefer and West Texas A&M head coach Krista Gerlich. Their respective schools since have confirmed that Schaefer and Gerlich visited Albuquerque to interview for UNM’s job.
Krebs said interest in the position was high from the beginning.
“I’ve been very impressed with the candidates and with the number of calls we’ve received about the job,” Krebs said. “I’d say the whole process has gone well.
“We had six or eight people who really piqued our interest, and we interviewed four.”
Krebs said the candidates who toured UNM’s basketball facilities came away duly impressed.
“To say they’ve been wowed or bowled over would not be an understatement,” Krebs said. “The facilities we have in place show a strong commitment to basketball, and our fan base only strengthens that impression.”
Schmidly, speaking at Thursday’s Economic Forum of Albuquerque, called UNM’s women’s basketball coaching job one of the top 10 in the country.
“In fact, you might even put it in the top two or three,” he said.
Schmidly went on to compare New Mexico’s home attendance (7,677 per game) last season with that of Texas A&M (6,104), despite the fact UNM finished 13-18 while the Aggies won a national championship.
Schmidly said he anticipated a coach being selected “maybe by the end of this week, probably no later than early next week.”
Interviews for the position began last week when Schaefer visited Albuquerque. Gerlich interviewed over the weekend, followed by Sanchez on Monday and Miller on Tuesday.
Krebs declined to say exactly when a new coach would be named but hinted that an announcement was imminent. “Everyone will know soon,” he said.