In his nearly 14-year tenure as director of athletics at the University of New Mexico from 1992-2006, Rudy Davalos elevated the Lobos' program academically, competitively and fiscally. His accomplishments were recognized nationally in 2002 as Davalos was featured by Sports Illustrated as one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports. He also received the Dr. Albert C. Yates Distinguished Service Award in 2006, bestowed upon an individual who successfully supported, promoted and exemplified the ideals of the Mountain West Conference or a member institution.
University of New Mexico student-athletes were consistently among the Mountain West Conference leaders in the academic arena. The Lobos produced 86 MWC Scholar-Athletes during the 2004-05 academic year, more than any other conference school. UNM student-athletes continually established new standards for semester grade-point-average, reaching a combined 3.0 or higher in the last eight terms of Davalos' tenure. Additionally, more than 100 student-athletes received national academic recognition since 1993.
Athletically, in the 10 years before Davalos came to New Mexico only five sports had combined to win or share 10 conference titles. During his time at UNM, eight teams won or shared nearly 40 regular-season or postseason conference championships. UNM was represented at NCAA postseason competition more than 115 times, while more than 150 student-athletes earned All-America recognition for their athletic achievements.
In men's basketball, eight of the Lobos' 11 NCAA Tournament appearances came while Davalos was at New Mexico. Likewise, all of the NCAA Tournament showings for the Lobo women's basketball program occurred while he was at UNM. Men and women's basketball ranked in the top-15 in national attendance average nine times.
In football, half of New Mexico's total bowl appearances were accomplished between 1997-2004. Season attendance records were broken seven times.
The UNM ski team won the 2004 NCAA championship, the first Lobo program to claim a national title, and was second in 2006. Lobo men's soccer was national runner-up in 2005.
When Davalos started in 1992, the athletics department budget was $9.4 million. The Lobos operated the 2005-06 fiscal year with a budget of more than $22 million. Not one time during Davalos' stay did the department fail to meet its annual financial obligations.
Davalos forged a relationship with the state's governors and legislators, local businesses and private contributors, allowing the school to update, renovate or provide new construction for virtually every athletics facility.
Davalos served on numerous conference and national committees, including the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball committees, the NCAA Baseball Committee and the NCAA Championships Committee.