The University of New Mexico Board of Regents voted against hearing head football coach Bob Davie’s appeal — and it was announced Thursday that his suspension would soon begin.
Interim President Chaouki Abdallah announced that Davie’s suspension will officially start Feb. 17 and continue through March 18, without pay.
News of the suspension might have been a surprise to some — perhaps even Davie. The head coach seemed to think his suspension would not interfere with spring practice, which began last Friday.
Following one of last week’s football practices, Davie said he had not been given any additional details following the decision by the Board of Regents not to hear his appeal.
It seemed unclear at the time whether Davie had other avenues to combat the decision, but he was focusing his energy on coaching the team.
Davie also said he “absolutely” expected to be the head coach at UNM when the team begins its season later in the fall.
The University’s Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez indicated that was the plan moving forward as well. Though Nuñez did say he spoke with the head coach and players about the concerns surrounding the football team and what his expectations are for the program.
“I told coach Davie and Lobo players that I have no way of knowing what happened in the past,” Nuñez said in a statement. “I cannot address what anyone said or did, other than what I read in the reports and what I have heard from coach Davie. I told them it is now undeniable that there currently exists a public perception that our football program needs to be honestly evaluated. Attitudes or a culture that permits racial, gender, religious or any other form of discrimination, harassment or bullying, will not be acceptable in this department, period.”
Findings from three different investigations were not able to definitively confirm some alarming allegations, but there was enough information to suggest a culture problem and the need to improve the environment student-athletes are subjected to.
In the same statement, Nuñez said they must collectively work together to improve the culture and that there is an obligation to immediately begin shaping a new public perception.
Nuñez named Kevin Cosgrove, the team’s defensive coordinator and linebacker coach, as the acting head coach during Davie’s absence.
“After meeting with our coaches last night, I have chosen to name Kevin Cosgrove to serve as acting head coach during this time,” Nuñez said. “I am confident that coach Cosgrove and the coaching staff will fully support our student-athletes and maintain continuity within the football program.”
Cosgrove has been coaching college football since 1980 and has been with the Lobo program since joining the team’s staff in the 2012 season. He took over the duties as defensive coordinator in the 2015 season.
Nuñez said he was “confident that coach Cosgrove and the coaching staff will fully support our student-athletes and maintain continuity within the football program.”
The defensive coordinator has helped guide his teams to a total of 16 bowl appearances during his coaching tenure — including back-to-back Gildan New Mexico Bowl selections for the Lobos during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, according to the team’s website.
During the 30-day unpaid suspension, Davie will be prohibited from having any direct communication or interaction with the players or his staff.
The student-athletes probably would have been spending the lion’s share of their time with position coaches, working through drills and trying to perfect technique. And many of the coaches on Davie’s staff — such as Cosgrove — have been in place for some time.
So things may not be much different in the way practices will be conducted at all.
Though it may be up for debate how impactful Davie’s presence may or may not be during spring practice, players will have to continue plugging away over the next several weeks without having their usual head coach pacing the sidelines and evaluating things on the field.
But there should be plenty of time between the middle of March and the team’s opening game for Davie to instill his philosophy — given nothing else changes in the meantime.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball, football and tennis. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.