Former Lobos coach Weir to interview for ENMU athletic director job

UNM Lobos men’s basketball coach Paul Weir talks to reporters at the Mountain West Conference media summit in Henderson, Nevada, on Oct. 15, 2019. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)

There’s no rest for the Weir.

Ahead of leaving for Tampa, Fla., later this week to coach the Canadian Junior National Team, former UNM Lobo men’s basketball coach Paul Weir will be in Portales on Wednesday interviewing for the open athletic director position at Eastern New Mexico University.

The school announced on Tuesday that Weir is the first candidate being brought to campus for both an interview and a morning meet-and-greet session with the invited campus and Portales communities.

Weir, who is owed over the next two years a $490,000 buyout after being fired as basketball coach by UNM in February (he coached out the remainder of the season into March), said last week he hasn’t decided what’s next for him, noting it could be in coaching, education, sports media or private business.  At age 41 with a wife and two young sons, he said he is afforded a unique opportunity to pursue an entirely new career if he so chooses.

“I promised myself — this has been the one time in my career where I could finally pick my head up and look at what else might be out there,” said Weir. “And I promised myself that before I put my head back down into whatever it is I was going to do, that I would at least explore and investigate as many other things as what my life could be about.”

Weir has five degrees, including three masters degrees and most recently he completed his Ph.D in Educational Leadership from New Mexico State University while head coach of the rival Lobos. He has taught a course at UNM’s Anderson School of Management over the past year and recently said he planned to continue doing so as well as starting some new, unspecified, projects with the school.

The native of Toronto coached at New Mexico State  for 10 years — nine as an assistant and one as head coach — followed by four seasons as Lobos head coach.

His years of service in New Mexico’s higher education field, and the potential retirement benefits of sticking out a few more years working in the field, are a factor in deciding on what career path he takes next, he acknowledged last week.

“I love teaching. I love teaching at Anderson School. They’ve kept me on and asked me to continue to teach,” Weir said. “… The other unique thing is that because I’ve spent a lot of time (working) in the state of New Mexico, I’ve had some other former coaches in and around the state reach out to me about making sure I’m aware that my future might be in the state just because of the years of service I have and how close I am to retirement. It’s crazy. But I’m much closer to retirement in the state of New Mexico than I thought. And my years of service, the way they average out your years of salary, leaving the state of New Mexico would have to be a very, very attractive opportunity.”

According to the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, an employee hired before 2010, as Weir was, in general terms must put in 25 years of service for full pension benefits. There are, however, various circumstances that could affect how service time and full retirement benefits can be calculated.

Last week, Weir was formally named the head coach of the Canadian junior national team. He will coach the team in next month’s U19 FIBA World Cup in Latvia after first working with the team at a training camp with the senior national team in Tampa, Fla.

ENMU’s vacancy was created last month when Matt Billings resigned after just one year. He was hired in January 2020, just months before COVID-19 restrictions in New Mexico essentially led to all sports at the Division II school being placed on hiatus for a year.

When he resigned, ENMU President Patricia Caldwell said, “The future of ENMU Athletics is strong and getting stronger. We look forward to fall competitions, an open campus, and strong community support for our student-athletes.”

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