Getting a chance to build a football program is usually a one-time thing for most coaches.
But for Barry Sacks, New Mexico’s new defensive line coach, having a second opportunity to be a part of a reclamation project was something he did not want to pass up.
Sacks, who enters his 35th season as a football coach, helped former Nevada head coach Chris Ault build the Wolf Pack into a formidable team over the course of 11 years.
Now after spending the 2013 season at California, Sacks looks to aid head coach Bob Davie in the rebuilding process of UNM.
“New Mexico has a ton to offer,” Sacks said. “To have an opportunity to come here and coach with coach Davie — the process that he has got going on it isn’t only building but it’s on the upward swing in the building process. It’s when you are part of something that has grown and turns into a winning football program that’s an experience of a lifetime and I want to be part of that again.”
Sacks came to Davie’s attention in 2012 because of former defensive coordinator Jeff Mills, who was fired this past offseason.
Both Mills and Sacks coached at Nevada from 2002-03 when Mills was defensive coordinator/linebackers coach and Sacks was the tight ends coach in 2002, then the defensive ends coach in 2003.
“We talked to Barry a bit and I watched Nevada’s defensive line play over the years and from a technique standpoint and an effort standpoint I was really impressed,” Davie said.
Davie first tried to lure Sacks to UNM from Nevada two years ago but Sacks decided to stay a part of the Wolf Pack because of Ault. After the 2012 season, Ault announced his retirement and Sacks left for California.
Then Davie once again talked to Sacks about joining UNM after last season and Sacks accepted the offer. Sacks also joins his longtime friend in wide receiver coach Scott Baumgartner, the two coached together at Nevada for nine seasons.
“At the time I was working for coach Ault and never really wanted to leave him,” Sacks said. “It came up again at Cal and I leapt at the opportunity to come to the University of New Mexico to become a Lobo.”
Asked to describe Sacks coaching style, Davie said that two defensive linemen told him that Sacks is crazy in a good way.
Sacks said he has his own unique style of coaching.
“I think that I’m aggressive, my whole heart is out there and my whole heart is on my sleeve,” he said. “I love the game of football and I want to project that. Something that I’m a firm believer is that I never want to come out on the field and give it half my effort when I’m asking our guys to give it their full effort.”
The UNM football program may have gone through a massive overhaul since Davie took over, but Sacks said most of the groundwork has been laid for the team to be successful.
The Lobos have gone 10-51 over the past five seasons and just 7-18 in Davie’s first two years at the helm.
“When a football program goes to rock bottom, before he got here, now he walks in and he has to build that thing right up,” Sacks said. “That process is difficult and slower than you’ll like it to be. Now I’m walking into a pretty good situation as far as the staff is concerned.”