New Mexico Football: Five Deep Cut Coaching Candidates To Replace Bob Davie
Who will become the next head football coach of the New Mexico Lobos? There are names out there, but we have some ideas.
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A tough place to win might draw some intriguing candidates.
The regular season is set to come to a close today for the New Mexico Lobos and it will mark the end of Bob Davie’s eight-year tenure as head coach.
Albuquerque has remained a difficult place to win consistently, but a pair of bowl appearances and a nine-win season this decade prove that the right hire, and an ability to think outside the box, can lead to good surprises for a fan base starved for success.
There are already plenty of names being bandied about for the job, most notably Arizona State defensive coordinator and UNM alumni Danny Gonzales, but rather than repeat what’s already been reported elsewhere, we’d like to add a few names with a thought exercise rooted in conjecture rather than any sources. If you have any names that you think the Lobos should consider, feel free to let us know on Twitter.
Head Coaching Candidates for New Mexico
1. Troy Reffett, North Texas defensive coordinator (school bio). Our first candidate might be familiar to many Lobos fans already, having served on Rocky Long’s staff from 2004 to 2008, but he’s had a fairly impressive run since his time in the Land of Enchantment. He engineered a turnaround at Louisiana-Monroe in his first year there, 2011, when his defense allowed a full yard fewer per play, and built two top-80 defenses by SP+ in 2011 and 2014.
Most recently, Mason Fine may have gotten most of the Mean Green’s headlines last year, Reffett’s defense was a top-ten unit nationally by Line Yards Per Carry Allowed, Opportunity Rate and Stuff Rate. If the Lobos are interested in a coach cut from the Rocky mold, Reffett might be worth a look.
2. Rhett Lashlee, SMU offensive coordinator (school bio). After the success that the Mustangs had this year behind transfer quarterback Shane Buechele and wide receiver James Proche, it’s not hard to see the allure of this potential hire. Lashlee has been a Broyles Award finalist, given annually to the nation’s best assistant coach, multiple times, and it seems like he enjoys a challenge: He left Auburn for UConn, of all places, and took a pay cut to mold the Huskies into a top-50 offense in his only season out in Storrs.
He might be the kind of rising star, however, more likely to snag a gig replacing whatever AAC coach jumps to the Power 5 this off-season.
3. Sonny Cumbie, TCU offensive coordinator (school bio). After lighting up the scoreboard as a quarterback at Texas Tech, Cumbie’s coaching career has gotten off to a strong start under Gary Patterson. By SP+, he helped create three top-25 offenses in four years from 2014 to 2017 and had some successes with true freshman quarterback Max Duggan this fall.
The main drawback is that UNM might need to shell out a contract it may not be able to afford: According to USA Today’s coaching salary database, Cumbie made nearly a million dollars in 2018
4. Marvin Lewis, Arizona State special adviser (school bio). Hey, Herm Edwards has mostly worked for the Sun Devils so far, right? Cincinnati Bengals fans might be split on his lasting legacy with that NFL franchise, but he left with the most wins by any head coach ever there.
Keep in mind, too, that it wouldn’t be Lewis’s first stint with UNM, either, as he served as linebackers coach under Mike Sheppard from 1987 to 1989. If rumors are to be believed, however, Lewis’s name is already being dropped for other NFL jobs that may open up this offseason.
5. David Bailiff, Texas A&M-Commerce head coach (school bio). If you’re looking for a coach with experience winning at tough jobs, it’s hard to do better than the guy who posted five winning seasons, including two ten-win campaigns and the 2013 Conference USA title, in eleven years at Rice. He’s also hit the ground running at TAMU-Commerce, as well, guiding the Lions to the second round of the Division II playoffs this weekend.