Rocky Long Steps Down As Lobos' Head Coach
Nov. 17, 2008
Rocky Long, the winningest head coach in the history of University of New Mexico football, has decided to step down from the position he has held for the past 11 seasons effective immediately. Long, 58, compiled a 65-69 record as the head coach of his alma mater, but guided the Lobos to five bowl appearances in seven seasons since 2002. UNM won the 2007 New Mexico Bowl for its first bowl victory since 1961. New Mexico made just six bowl appearances from 1938-2001.
The Lobos wrapped up their 2008 season last Saturday with a 20-6 loss at Colorado State. New Mexico is the first Football Bowl Subdivision school to end its regular season.
UNM finished 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Mountain West Conference in 2008. It's the most losses for UNM overall and in conference play since 1998 when it finished 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the final season of the Western Athletic Conference.
"I really appreciate all the support of the loyal Lobo fans throughout the years," said Long, who was a three-year starter at quarterback for UNM from 1969-71. "I also want to thank (former athletics director) Rudy Davalos, President Schmidly, Paul Krebs and the support staff for everything they have done to make our program get better in the past 11 years. I think the football program has a solid foundation and is in a position to really improve, given new leadership."
"Coach Long's decision to step down was unexpected," said UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs. "We can't say enough about the accomplishments and contributions that Rocky has made to the University of New Mexico. He is arguably the most successful coach in the history of Lobo football. Because of Rocky's passion and devotion to his alma mater, the program has been elevated and we are optimistic about the future."
"For as long as people talk about Lobos football, they'll talk about Rocky Long, because for as long as we've been playing football at UNM, no coach has been more of a winner than Rocky, and his winning relationship with UNM goes back almost 40 years now," said UNM President David Schmidly.
Rocky Long's HEAD COACHING HIGHLIGHTS AT NEW MEXICO
A 65-69 overall record in 11 seasons, but 46-40 since 2002, the third-best mark in the league
UNM appeared in only six bowl games between 1938-2001, but went to five games in a seven-season period from 2002-08...that includes a 23-0 victory over Nevada in the 2007 New Mexico Bowl, marking the Lobos' first bowl win since the 1961 Aviation Bowl
New Mexico was the only school in the Mountain West Conference to be bowl eligible and produce at least six wins in seven straight seasons from 2001-07....that's also a first in Lobo history
The only team in the MWC that had a non-losing record in conference games every season from 2001-07
49 wins from 2001-07 - an average of 7 a season - the most by UNM in a 7-year span
A 30-23 record in Mountain West Conference games since 2002, the third-most wins in the league over that period behind Utah and BYU
The program's top-15 semester grade-point-averages were attained under Long, all in the past 17 terms, since the 2000 spring semester, including a program-best 2.79 in the spring of 2008, and a 2.98 in the summer of 2008
73 academic all-conference performers from 2001-07
9 All-Americans from 2001-08
10 NFL Draft picks from 1999-2008
33 first team all-MWC honorees from 2003-07, 12 more than any other school in the league over that span
New Mexico fans were responsible for three straight school records (2003-04-05) for season tickets sold and annual average attendance