Nov. 16, 2011
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
His roots and his pedigree are all about football. His hobby is football. So, is his future.
He has coached at Texas A&M and Notre Dame -- twice was a national finalist for coach of the year -- and beginning next week, Bob Davie, the former Irish head coach will return to the heart and the trenches of the game to coach at the University of New Mexico.
It's fair to say that the New Mexico Lobos picked Davie and was happy with the choice. Davie has coached in the heart of Texas at Texas A&M and took Notre Dame to three bowl games, including the BCS Fiesta Bowl.
He understands the demands of college coaching at the highest level. He understands smash-mouth football and honest effort.
It's also fair to say that when Davie decided to leave the talking booth at ESPN and return the game of his passion, he picked the Lobos. UNM is where Davie wants to coach and New Mexico is where Davie wants to live.
His family is raised and Davie has the time to devote full energy to Lobo football. That energy and that commitment will be tested.
For sure, the task in front of Davie is a daunting one. He will take over a Lobo program that won one game in 2009, one game in 2010, and has a single win this season facing tough road games at Wyoming and at Boise State.
This is where Davie's roots in football will come in handy. He helped build a program and a defense at Texas A&M. He helped build a defense at Notre Dame before taking over the program from the legendary Lou Holtz.
He came to Notre Dame as Holtz's defensive coordinator and there is always one thing you can say about defensive coordinators: They know games are won or lost in the trenches.
Lobo fans who like intense, fiery defenses probably are going to love Davie, a coach known for rewarding players with a flashy smile or punishing them with an intense stare.
He first earned defensive fame as the A&M defensive coordinator where his feared "wrecking crew" defense led the nation in total defense in 1991. In his last five years at A&M, his defensive units gave up only 13.3 points per game.
Holtz, always the savvy one, plucked Davie way from A&M. At Notre Dame, his defense of 1997 allowed the fewest total yards of any Irish defense in 17 years.
His success, demeanor and reputation as a no-nonsense coach, who stressed academics, made him the obvious successor to Holtz at Notre Dame - a place where football coaches are supposed to win national championships, walk on water and feed the East side of the stadium with a loaf of bread. Or else!
Davie won 35 games, lost 25. He got his team ranked in the Top 10 and took the Irish to three postseason bowls from 1997 to 2001. He won regional Coach of the year honors the same year as Holtz (South Carolina), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Dennis Erickson (Oregon State) and Gary Nord (UTEP).
His Irish team of 2000 went 9-2, including an overtime loss to No. 1 Nebraska, and Notre Dame played in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. Amazingly, that Irish team tied a 34-year-old NCAA record by finishing the season with only eight turnovers. The Irish did that despite fighting an injury bug that placed three Notre Dame quarterbacks in the huddle that season.
Still, Davie left a few Notre Dame types hungering for more and was relieved of his position in 2001.
When he left Notre Dame, he went into the broadcast booth and picked up additional insight into the game by looking down on what does - and what doesn't - work for various teams and programs across the nation.
What Davie brings to New Mexico is an energetic and dynamic coach of national stature, who stresses academics and the fundamental foundations of football. His Notre Dame teams were solid on both sides of the football, but he also stressed consistency on his special teams/kicking game.
He teaches -- and demands -- the complete game.
Davie grew up in the Pittsburgh area - a city known for blue-collar work ethics. His father worked for a steel company. Davie has coached for and coached against some of the finest college football programs in America.
Now, he is coaching again for a school he wants to coach for, in a community he wants to live in. In the past 14 years, Davie has sought out two head coaching jobs: Notre Dame and New Mexico.
Davie says he feels fortunate to be a Lobo. The Lobos - and New Mexico - should feel the same way.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and Sports Columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org