Memories of the Rocky Long Era of UNM Football (1998-2008)

Rocky Long has the most wins and the most losses in UNM football coaching history. I prefer to remember the wins and excitement he brought to UNM.

How about going on the road to Missouri, Arizona, BYU and Utah and destroying all four, taking down coach Urban Meyer in the process? How about the last-second field goal to defeat Texas Tech at University Stadium?

Or the greatest come from behind victory in University Stadium history after being down 21-3 against Utah, putting coach Kyle Wittingham in a state of shock? Does anyone remember the 70-7 demolition of San Diego State? (If Rocky hadn’t eased up on the pedal, yes, they would have needed another digit for the scoreboard on that day).

How about all of the players Long sent to the NFL and the New Mexico talent such as DonTrell Moore and Hank Baskett that he was able to recruit?

How about the attendance records that were set and the excitement that was generated surrounding the Bowl Games in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Albuquerque? Some say Long failed. If that’s failure, how about an encore?

When we get through the COVID-19 crisis, yes, there will be an encore with Rocky playing second fiddle this time around.



Joseph is a long-time submitter to the Albuquerque Journal’s Sports Speak Up column. He is an avid local sports fan who enjoys sharing nostalgic stories of the New Mexico sports scene over the past 60 years.