The Aggies are back on the clock.
Less than a year ago New Mexico State lost basketball coach Marvin Menzies, conducted a national coaching search and ended up promoting up-and-coming assistant Paul Weir. Now Weir has up and left for, of all teams, the in-state rival.
Weir on Tuesday accepted the head coaching position for the University of New Mexico and NMSU is again launching a national search for his replacement.
“At the outset, I want to personally thank Paul Weir for his 10 years of dedicated service to New Mexico State University,” NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia said.
“The loss of our head coach illustrates the business side of intercollegiate athletics. We will immediately begin a search for our next coach who will be the best fit for New Mexico State University.”
NMSU will hold a news conference today to discuss the search and other matters related to the Weir departure.
At the top of the list will be NMSU’s stance on the buyout owed by Weir.
According to his contract, leaving NMSU means he owes them half his base salary (that was $250,000 per season) multiplied by the number of years remaining on his contract. That’s what’s in question as it was either three years remaining or four.
He had a clause that automatically added a year on his term if they won the Western Athletic Conference tournament, as NMSU did in March. But other clauses in his contract don’t take effect until May 1 each year.
So, depending on interpretation of whether that clause was, in fact, automatic or didn’t kick in until May 1 will determine whether he owes $375,000 or $500,000. Also in question, since not specified contractually, is when the money has to be paid.
What isn’t in question, according to UNM athletic director Paul Krebs, is who owes that money.
“We are not involved in any buyout with New Mexico State,” Krebs said, adding the payment is on Weir to pay NMSU.
Weir said he wouldn’t get into details about the matter Tuesday, but had nothing but appreciation for NMSU and the opportunity it gave him.
“That first four or five hours (after being contacted by UNM) was a lot of weirdness that you had to work through,” Weir said. “But I really just kept thinking and thinking, ‘Man, it’s Lobo basketball.’ I get the awkwardness. I feel it. I sense it. But at the same time, I just can’t control that at the end of the day. It’s too good a job to pass up.”
The teams play each other in Las Cruces on Nov. 17 and in Albuquerque Dec. 9.