After an eight-year tenure as the head coach of the University of New Mexico football team, Bob Davie and Athletics Director Eddie Nuñez "mutually agreed to part ways" on Nov. 25.
Davie will leave with more than fresh memories of a woeful 2-10 season — he’ll also head out the door with an $825,000 severance check.
The Board of Regents approved a contract buyout on Tuesday, Dec. 10 that will burn a nearly million dollar-sized hole in the University’s pocket over the course of the next 30 months. Nuñez confirmed the buyout to reporters following a closed-door session with the Regents.
"It’s never an easy process," Nuñez said. "Of course, it is money that we have to come up with for the agreement, but it was something we felt very comfortable with. There are going to be those (who) say 'we shouldn’t have paid anything,' but he has a contract, and that was part of this conversation."
Davie had two years remaining on a contract that ran through the 2021 football season.
The payments to Davie will amount to $27,500 a month until the summer of 2022. For context, the average per capita income in Albuquerque in 2017 was $28,229 a year, according to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nuñez emphasized his commitment to the football program amid swirling criticism of the mounting costs the program has incurred in recent years while other athletics programs have been cut.
Discussion of the buyout wasn’t explicitly on the agenda of the public portion of the Board of Regents' regular meeting, but the topic nonetheless was covered during Nuñez's quarterly Athletics financial report. Regent Rob Schwartz questioned how the funding would be sourced.
"Hypothetically, if there were a payout to a fired coach, where would that go on the budget?" Schwartz asked, eliciting laughter from a few people in the packed room.
Nuñez said he didn't want to discuss that hypothetical.
He went on to say "other sources" would be tapped for the buyout without specifying where the funds would come from, presumably demurring until the closed executive session to elaborate.
After the lengthy, nearly two-hour long executive session was adjourned, Nuñez said future guarantee games, or games in which UNM will be paid a large sum to pad the resumes of powerhouses like the University of Southern California in 2020 and Louisiana State University in 2022, would "supplement" the buyout.
"It’s been a collaborative effort between myself, my staff, legal and everyone to make sure that (the buyout) was possible. We’re ready to move forward for the betterment of our program and the opportunity to bring a new coach here," said Nuñez.
Davie’s buyout came after an inconsistent record both on and off the field for the former Notre Dame head coach and ESPN broadcaster. He compiled a 35-64 record over eight years at the helm of the UNM football program, including an 8-28 slide during his final three seasons.
Davie’s final game — a 38-25 loss to Utah State in front of a sparse afternoon crowd — came five days after the announcement of his dismissal.
According to Nuñez, the interest level the football program has seen from potential new head coaching hires has been "really strong," and conversations are ongoing.
Justin Garcia contributed reporting to this article.
Andrew Gunn is a senior reporter and copy chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @agunnwrites