May 19, 2012
Call it a family gathering.
The University of New Mexico football team held an Alumni Weekend for about 80 former players, who were treated to a round of golf at Isleta Eagle Golf Course on Friday and a tour of the south campus on Saturday.
The event not only allowed first-year coach Bob Davie to connect with faces from Lobo teams from the 1940s through last season, but also allowed him to share his vision of the program with those who already have given their blood, sweat, tears and allegiance to the program.
"I've got an awareness of what kind of football New Mexico former players and New Mexico fans expect us to play," Davie said. "I like the pressure the former players are going to put on us as coaches and players as well. They're all part of this; it's important to get everybody back together - every year - and hopefully we can build on this.
"It really is the Lobo football family."
Most of the former players took part in Friday afternoon's golf scramble at Isleta Eagle, then more came for a gathering at the End Zone Club, a tour of not only the football facilities but also The Pit, and a speech from Davie.
"I have a great feeling about coach Davie," said D.J. Renteria, a former All-Mountain West defensive end who played from 1999-2003. "He's a very genuine guy."
Other former Lobo luminaries such as Winslow Oliver (who played in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons), Stoney Case (Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions), Walt Arnold (Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs) were among those in attendance for the weekend.
It's been 16 years since Oliver had been back to Albuquerque - since his rookie year with Carolina - a fact that he's not proud of.
"I must say I'm embarrassed it's been that long," said Oliver, a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference running back in 1995 now living in Houston. "Life just kind of happens ... four kids and a family. ... But I'm ready to plunge all my time and extra effort into getting behind what (Davie and his staff) are doing at UNM. I'm amazed at this city; I will be back here in September (for football season)."
After some questionable scorecards were turned in Friday, the team gathered Saturday for more team bonding and a reintroduction to a tradition.
All the former players signed a pole in the locker room - a tradition that started nearly a decade ago when players began to sign it after their final games as seniors. Davie loved the tradition, but some of the language on the pole was not appropriate, so he had it painted with the promise that he'd invite the alumni to come back and re-sign the pole and restart the tradition.
"Everyone signed the pole," Renteria said. "That actually started when I was in school and has become a great tradition. I'm glad my name will be there with others that formed a foundation for Lobo football."
Which Davie admitted was part of his agenda.
"I want our current players to realize the responsibility they have to uphold the reputation these guys set," Davie said. "I think it's good for everybody."
A list of former players who RSVP'd to the weekend's event (years lettered):
James Aho (2008-11), Calvin Allen (1992-95), Jeff Apodaca (1983-85), Walt Arnold (1976-79), Myron Ashley (1988), Bo Bankston (1958-60), Josh Bazinet (2001-04), Fred Beatty (1967-69), Wesley Beck (2006-08), Brad Bramer (1969-71), Jake Bowe (2005-08), Brian Briscoe (1980-82), Charles Brown (2004-05), Kenny Byrd (2002-06), Steve Byrd (1963-64), George Carter (2004-07), Stoney Case (1991-94), Bill "Trucker" Cunningham (1968-69), Jack Dailey (1960), Gary Davis (2000-01), Preston Dennard (1974-77), Rich Duller (1971-73), Don Elliot (1979-82), Jorge Enriquez (2995), Fola Fashola (2002-04), Phil Franczyk (1967-70), Andy Frederick (1974-76), George Friberg (1958-60),Bob Fowler (1967-68), Bob Gaines (1968-72), Aaron Givens (1987-90), Gil Gonzales (1985), Wayne Gosnell (1956-58), David Haemker (1995), Jim Hensley (1976-78), Jeff Howes (1985-88), Herb Hughes (1949-50, 1955), Christian Johnson (2010), Bob Johnson (1974-75), Daniel 2006-08), (2001-03), Tim Lewis (1968-69), Blake Ligon (2005-08), Dennis Lively (1961), Tim Lopez (1981-84), Jeremiah Lovato (2006-08), Martin Lovato (2001-03), Barry Luther (1984-87), Tim Lutz (2008-09), Scott Maney (1984-87), Danny Martin (2007-09), Rene Matison (1968), Dave Matthews (1951-53), Tommy McBee (1969-70), Brian McCabe (1984-87), Kim McCall (1988-91), Kole McKamey (2003-06), Mike Mohoric (2002-05), Mark Moores (1988-91), Gayland Morris (1964-65), Mike Muniz (2008-11), Winslow Oliver (1992-95), Jim Ottmann (1963), Mike Pettenuzzo (1972-73), Scott Pettinger (1988-91), Curtis Pino (2004-06), Jason Purvis (1996-99), D.J. Renteria (2000-03), Daniel Reyes (1998-99), Chuck Roberts (1957-59), Zach Rupp (2002-03), Bobby Santiago (1961-63), Aaron Saavedra (1993-95), Dan Sawyers (1955), Mike Scarlett (2008-11), Frank Sedillo (1979-81), John Shipowski (1969-71), Michael Smith (1988-91), Dur Stell (1961), Billy Strother (2002-03), John Sullivan (2007), Martin Valdez (1958), Tom Walker (1970-71),