March 31, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- University of New Mexico Vice-President for Athletics Paul Krebs announced today that a three-year contract extension has been agreed to in principal with men's basketball head coach Steve Alford. Alford recently finished the first year of a six-year contract at UNM. The extension will keep Alford on the Lobo sidelines through the 2015-16 season.
"This shows our commitment to Coach Alford and his commitment to the University of New Mexico," stated Krebs. "He is going to be our coach for the foreseeable future and we are very excited with the direction of our basketball program."
Alford just completed his first year at UNM, guiding the Lobos to a third place finish in the Mountain West Conference at 11-5, and a 24-9 overall record. Most impressive about the Lobo record is that it was done with basically the same group that finished the 2006-07 season tied for last in the MWC at 4-12, and an overall mark of 15-17.
"This is another example of what I have said all along - that I am committed to being a Lobo," stated Alford. "I would like to thank UNM President Dr. David Schmidly and Paul Krebs for showing their support of the job my staff and I have done to this point. With the upcoming renovations to The Pit and our success in year one, we are well on our way to making Lobo basketball a big-time program."
UNM's 24 wins during the 2007-08 regular season tied a school record, as did eight road victories. The eight road wins equaled UNM's total from the previous five seasons (8-43 from 2003-07). The Lobos won at Utah (72-71 on Feb. 23) for the first time since the 1988-89 season, snapping an 18-game road losing streak to the Utes in Salt Lake City. New Mexico also won at Wyoming (99-92 on Jan. 5) for the first time since 1995, ending a 10-game road skid to the Cowboys in Laramie.
UNM senior J.R. Giddens, who was inconsistent at best as a junior, led the MWC in scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg) and was named the league's co-Player of the Year this season. Junior Chad Toppert shot 48.0% from behind the arc and will finish the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in 3-pt. FG%.
After just missing out on the NCAA Tournament, the Lobos received an at-large bid to the National Invitational Tournament. UNM ended its season with a 68-66 loss at Cal, making its first appearance in the postseason since 2005.
Alford will be entering his 18th year as a head coach when the Lobos tip-off again in the fall. He is 332-192 (.634) in 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach.