University of New Mexico football head coach Bob Davie was taken to UNM Hospital immediately following Saturday night’s season-opening win over Sam Houston State at Dreamstyle Stadium.
The Lobos won 39-31, and Davie was preparing to address the media in his postgame press conference when emergency services loaded him into an ambulance and whisked him from the Tow Diehm Athletic Facility. Davie reportedly collapsed just moments before taking questions from the media.
He was transported to the hospital with what athletic director Eddie Nuñez described as a “serious medical incident.” Some sources speculated that it was due to potential chest pain, although school officials declined to elaborate.
“On behalf of the Davie family, we would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers,” read a statement from the Davie family sent through the team’s official Twitter page late Saturday night. “Coach Davie is doing well and recovering, he is surrounded by family and your continued thoughts, prayers and privacy are greatly appreciated during this time.”
Associate athletic director David Williams informed the media immediately after the game that Davie’s postgame proceeding was canceled and that all coaches and players would be unavailable for comment.
“The university will release more information as it becomes available,” Nuñez said in a hastily prepared statement after the game. “We ask that you keep the Davie family in your prayers.”
Davie, 64, is entering his eighth season as UNM’s coach. He was Notre Dame’s head coach from 1997-2001, then spent 10 years as an ESPN college football analyst before taking over at UNM in 2012. He is 34-54 with the Lobos.
He led the Lobos to an opening win against the Bearkats, the 23rd-ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Ahmari Davis scored two touchdowns and Andrew Shelly hit four field goals to lead the Lobos (1-0). Davis, who broke three plays for more than 40 yards, finished with 107 yards rushing and another 58 receiving. He had 183 total yards all of last season.
Sheriron Jones, playing in relief of starting quarterback Brandt Hughes, ran for two second-half touchdowns to help the Lobos break open the game.
New Mexico took a 16-0 lead in the second quarter, scoring on four straight possessions. But the Bearkats took a 23-22 lead in the third quarter when Eric Schmid, who finished with a rushing touchdown and a throwing touchdown, found Toniel Carter on a 13-yard scoring pass.
“We didn’t make enough plays,” said Bearkats coach K.C. Keeler. “That was my frustration with the guys. I’m proud that we bounced back after being down a couple of scores and all of that but that’s expected of our place. You’re down a couple of scores and you keep playing.”
The Lobos regained the lead on Shelley’s fourth field goal then Jones ran it in from 11 yards out to push the lead to 32-23 at the end of the third quarter.
Davis had a scoring run of 43 yards, and another rush for 53 yards, while adding a 51-yard reception.
New Mexico’s stated goal is to win six games and achieve bowl eligibility, something it has done just twice before in Davie’s prior seven seasons with the Lobos. Getting this first victory gives New Mexico a good start toward that benchmark.
Sam Houston had won three straight season openers and has finished above .500 nine consecutive seasons.
The 97-degree temperature at kickoff marked the Lobos warmest opening-day game. And it definitely played a role in the game, Keeler said, as it was combined with unusual humidity and an elevation of nearly a mile high.
“At the end, Eric was getting IVs so he was out, he wasn’t an option anymore,” Keeler said of Schmid. “I’ve never seen as many players cramp and I think we’re in really good shape, but we had a lot of cramping going on.”
New Mexico next plays at Notre Dame on Sept. 14. It marks the first coaching return to South Bend, Ind., for Davie, who coached the Fighting Irish from 1997-2001.
The Bearkats next play at home against Oklahoma State Panhandle.
The New Mexican’s Will Webber contributed to this report.