On Dec. 17, the University of New Mexico officially hired Danny Gonzales to become the next head football coach of the New Mexico Lobos. Gonzales replaced Bob Davie, who “mutually parted ways” with the University at the end of the season.
Gonzales is no stranger to the football program at UNM and isn’t a stranger to Albuquerque. He is a native New Mexican and played for the Lobos from 1994 to 1998 as a safety and a punter.
After his playing career, he joined the football staff from 1999 to 2008, with stints as the video coordinator from 2003 - 2005 and as the safeties, kickers, punters and long snappers coach from 2006 - 2008.
After departing from the Lobo coaching staff, Gonzales joined Rocky Long’s coaching staff in 2011 at San Diego State University, where he coached the safeties for six years, and then was promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2017 season.
In 2018, Gonzales was hired to be the defensive coordinator for Arizona State with head coach Herm Edwards.
Under Gonzales, Arizona State's defense held opponents to an average of 23 points and 387 yards per game, which was in the top half of college football last year.
On December 18th, UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez officially introduced Danny as the next football coach. When introduced, Gonzales received a chorus of ovation from the fans, former players, current players and former teammates who were present for the introduction.
After an opening statement from Nuñez, Gonzales took the podium to express his gratitude to his family, which included his father Ray, and to coach Edwards and the leaders that are at Arizona State.
He also expressed his thanks to Rocky Long who imparted these words to Gonzales: “it’s your time, don’t screw it up, it’s our team.” This elicited laughter from the crowd.
“I'm a New Mexico kid. We are going to recruit New Mexico kids,” Gonzales said when speaking to the crowd about his plan to rebuild the football program. “When I was here before, our best players were the kids from New Mexico because it meant something to them."
He also added, “There isn't anybody else who will work as hard as I will to build a winner, We're going to win."
This will elate any Lobo football fan, as the program has amassed 8 wins over the last three years, with no bowl appearances.
On another note, nine positions on Gonzales’s staff have been filled: Derek Warehime as offensive coordinator, James Carson as Head Athletic Performance, Jamie Christian as Special Teams coordinator, Brandon Blackmon as Cornerbacks coach, Troy Reffett as Safeties coach, David Howes Linebackers coach, Jordan Somerville as Offense, Jason Lenzmeier also as an offensive coach and Saga Tuitele who returns from Bob Davie’s staff as an offensive coach.
Most UNM football fans look forward to the Danny Gonzales era and look forward to him having a successful stint as head football coach.
Spencer Butler is a sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SpencerButler48