ALBUQUERQUE — University of New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nuñez has hired business search firm DHR International to help him find the school’s next head football coach.
He also said he has reached out to former Lobos coaches Rocky Long and Dennis Franchione, as well as NFL Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher to get their insight on what the school needs to turn its program around.
Nuñez addressed the ongoing search process in a Tuesday news conference in The Pit, saying he will rely on his roots — specifically his extensive ties to the Southeastern Conference — to target the successor to Bob Davie.
Davie was dismissed after eight seasons with the Lobos, finishing 35-64 with just two winning records and five seasons of one or fewer wins in conference play. Terms of Davie’s contract buyout will not be revealed until the UNM Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 10.
He was under contract through the 2021 season.
Nuñez said a key component to his initial phase to the coaching search was first reaching out to the former players and coaches.
“I wanted to understand what we needed to do, what we had to do, what are some of the keys and important opportunities for us think about as we go through this process,” Nuñez said about his conversations with Urlacher and the two former UNM coaches.
“The biggest common theme goes back to what we’re talking about here; we need somebody that understands what the expectations are here, where we want to go, the investment in the community, recruiting and how essential it is in certain geographical regions,” Nuñez said.
He said DHR’s role in the search isn’t to find candidates. Instead, he will pinpoint prospective targets and DHR will work on setting up interviews and gauge each candidate’s level of interest.
He said he has gotten an “unbelievable” amount of interest from all around the country but will stick to what he knows best by remaining close to his roots. Nuñez attended college at Florida and worked in athletic administration at Vanderbilt and LSU — all SEC programs — before taking over as New Mexico’s AD in 2017.
This is a developing story and will be updated.