Finally, some good news for New Mexico football coach Mike Locksley.
Despite leading the Lobos to a 2-21 record in his first two seasons - with TCU still left on the 2010 schedule - and creating multiple, embarrassing off-the-field incidents in his first two years on the job, Locksley will return to coach the Lobos in 2011.
If it’s hard to imagine that Locksley would receive such a vote of confidence from New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs, don’t bother - because Locksley didn’t get one.
Instead, I was told today by a Mountain West school athletic director that Locksley is only returning because UNM’s Board of Regents, the state of New Mexico and the athletic department’s private fundraising Lobo Club is unwilling to provide the $1.46 million to buy Locksley out of a contract that runs through 2014.
So the Lobos are stuck with Locksley and his $750,000 annual salary for now.
Facing a reported $240 million budget shortfall in 2011, new governor Susana Martinez focused her recent election campaign on a, “10-point plan to cut state government and achieve more efficient use of taxpayers’ money. She said her plan would include no-growth budgeting; identifying waste, fraud and fiscal responsibility.”
Part of those cuts include a reported $6 million from the overall 2011 UNM budget.
Combine that with the fact that UNM has handed out $1.6 million in contract buyouts to former football coach Rocky Long and former basketball coaches Ritchie McKay and Fran Fraschilla in the past decade or so, and it appears Locksley chose to wreck the Lobos football program at just the right time.