July 20, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M --- He may have been a rookie, but University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie handled it like a pro Thursday night.
The "it" was the 19th annual Lobo Football Women's Clinic on the South Campus next to University Stadium. The event, the proceeds of which will go to the Send-A-Kid Program that gives underprivileged kids a chance to attend a Lobo football game, drew an audience of about 130 female fans.
"I've been involved in college football for 35 years," Davie told the gathering in the team meeting room on the second floor of the Tow Diehm, "and this is my first women's clinic. But I hope that once you get to know our coaching staff and our players, you'll feel a connection with this program that will help you become some of our best fans."
"I am really impressed with coach Davie," said Elizabeth Mendez of Albuquerque; she said she has attended several of the women's clinics over the years. "This is my first interaction with him and the coaching staff, and you just get the feeling they can accomplish a lot of good things here."
After dinner (provided by Jason's Deli) and Davie's welcome speech, offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse and defensive coordinator Jeff Mills gave the attendees a Cliff's Notes version of Football 101, Lobo-style. The women then took a tour of the weight room, training room and locker room before reconvening at the Indoor Practice Facility for a series of football drills under the guidance of the coaching staff and several players.
"The drills were the most fun," said Bernadette Jaramillo of Belen who was participating in the clinic for the first time. "Getting to know what the Lobos are about - the players, and the staff. I've always followed the Lobos on TV, but getting to know them makes me want to come out (to the games) and support them."
The evening was as much fun for the players as it was for the participants.
"The ladies are always so excited to come out here and do all the drills," said senior wide receiver Lamaar Thomas, who was participating in his third women's football clinic at UNM. "It makes you excited to be a part of it. My station was the football toss with the quarterbacks (in which the women tried to throw the football into one of three targets on a netted backstop), and a lot of the women were able to hit the targets. That's something that I couldn't do if I tried 50 times."
While part of the objective of the women's clinic is to gain more fan support, Thomas - who missed most of the 2011 season due to injuries - said he was surprise by how many of the women already were Lobo fans.
"A lot of people came up to me and they knew about my injury and they asked me if I was feeling better," Thomas said. "Sometimes you just don't realize how much support there is in the community."