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Davie Extension Keeps New Mexico On Right Track

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UNM coach Bob Davie is the rare coach to deserve an extension after a losing season. Scott Halleran/Getty Images.
UNM coach Bob Davie is the rare coach to deserve an extension after a losing season. Scott Halleran/Getty Images.

A 4-9 debut season typically doesn’t warrant a coach a contract extension, but in the case of Bob Davie and the University of New Mexico, it’s most definitely the right move.

Davie’s deal was officially announced Tuesday, extending his current contract through the 2019 season.

Lobo Nation is now hoping it’s not a Steve Alford situation all over again after the successful UNM men’s hoops coach agreed to a 10-year extension in March, but then bolted to UCLA 10 days later.

But, hey, we’re talking 4-9 here, not Mountain West Conference titles, and Davie plans to continue the turnaround he so successfully started a season ago. The Lobos made the largest leap in scoring margin (minus-29.7 to minus-4.4) in the FBS ranks and finished 10th in rushing at 301.3 yards per outing.

It was quite a welcome sight for UNM fans and boosters, who had seen the team go a ghastly 3-33 over the previous three seasons under Mike Locksley.

The program also is still is feeling the final effects of the 2008 NCAA sanctions handed down for academic-fraud issues in the middle of the decade, and the Lobos only had 72 players on scholarship last season, another check mark in Davie’s favor.

Having coached only one season in Albuquerque, the mention of Davie’s name still conjures up a five-year run of missed expectations at Notre Dame, where he went 35-25 and 0-3 in a trio of bowl appearances, or a decade-long run as a color analyst for ESPN and ABC.

But Davie seemingly has found the right fit at UNM, where escaping the FBS cellar was a strong first step. This is, after all, a program that hasn’t sniffed a winning season or bowl appearance since 2007 and incomprehensibly hasn’t won a conference title since the days of the Lyndon B. Johnson administration in 1964.

To be sure, Davie has some more tough sledding ahead with only 10 starters back and a daunting schedule (road dates at Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Fresno State and Boise State), but at least it appears UNM has a committed coach steering the program in the right direction.