When the University of New Mexico hired Bob Davie as their head football coach in November 2011, the team was in disarray. Mike Locksley left the program halfway through the season after a tumultuous tenure which included three consecutive 1-11 records. Lobo football was the laughingstock of New Mexico college athletics.
Since Davie took the over, times have changed.
In 2015, the Lobos posted their first winning season in six years. Last season, UNM finished with a 9-4 record and tied for 1st place in the Mountain West Conference. Davie and his staff helped turn a once-failing program into a potential conference powerhouse.
But is Davie’s time at UNM limited?
Recent happenings within the program may prove see Bob Davie on the chopping block soon. NMfishbowl.com reported in early September that Davie was under investigation for mistreatment of players and allegedly compromising the drug testing process. Davie and UNM officials have given no comment on the allegations but have confirmed that he was indeed being investigated. This report received national coverage as it came just ahead of a nationally televised game against Boise State.
It did not take long for this report to be buried by another event. A few short weeks later, the Lobos found themselves in the national spotlight again as five players knelt for during the national anthem. UNM became the first college football team kneel in protest of racism and police brutality, and Bob Davie supports his athletes in their choice of expression. However, the action was met with public scrutiny from many fans. Davie’s support has received both praise and criticism.
These two events turned an otherwise successful season into one with drama reminiscent of the Locksley era. If the investigation confirms the allegations of mistreatment and drug testing violations, then UNM has an ethical decision to make. If a portion of the politically polarized fan base calls for a removal due to the protest, then UNM has a PR decision to make. In both cases, Bob Davie and his staff are experiencing some of the most negative press since 2011, potentially placing their jobs on the line.
In a recent press conference, however, Davie said, “I feel more strongly now than ever that our football team is unified.”
Undoubtedly, Bob Davie and UNM football will rely on that unification to survive the rest of the season. Lobo fans are new to winning football games. Continued victories may be enough to shield from controversy, thus securing Davie’s position as head coach.
UNM’s next game is at Fresno State, on Saturday, October 14.Like this story? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more of our best original news.