The Lobo Beat

Rocky Long

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.

Eloy Medina UNM

Lobos Add Eloy Medina to 2020-21 roster

The University of New Mexico announced the signing of former West Mesa Star Eloy Medina. Medina in the third NM native added to the 2020-21 roster.

“Eloy is a talented young man with a tremendous passion for being a Lobo,” said head coach Paul Weir via a release from the school.

“His shooting ability stands out, but his character and reputation are impeccable. We are ecstatic to have him join the fold.”

A four-time first-team all-district honoree, Medina averaged just under 21 points per game for the Mustangs.

MWC Cancels Fall Sports (1)

Mountain West Conference Postpones all Fall Sports

The Mountain West Conference announced today the postponement of all fall sports, including football.

Per the official release, the conference will look at the possibility of rescheduling football, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, and women’s soccer, including playing out those sports in the spring.

“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and overall communities,” said Dr. Mary Papazian, President at San José State University and Chair of the MW Board of Directors via the official release.

“Through the hard work of many over the past several months, the Conference made every effort to create an opportunity for our student-athletes to compete, and we empathize with the disappointment this creates for everyone associated with our programs. The best interests of our students and student-athletes remain our focus, and we will persist in our efforts to forge a viable and responsible path forward.”

The Danny Gonzales era of UNM Football will be on hold, at least until the spring of 2021. Gonzales, a native New Mexican who returned to his alma matter to take over the head coaching vacancy left by Bob Davie, looks to relieve a struggling program after spending time as the defensive coordinator for Arizona State.

“While we are disappointed for our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans, we understand that today’s decision made by the Mountain West Board of Directors has the best interest of all in mind. Lobo student-athletes and staff have been deliberate and strategic with each step towards returning to play,” said Director of Athletics Eddie Nuñez in an official statement from the school.

“Our student-athletes have done everything asked of them including quarantining when arriving, being tested for COVID-19, wearing masks and social distancing. Lobos have also been leaders in the community’s fight against COVID-19 by promoting and influencing safe practices, raising money for the Lobo food pantry, developing a virtual reading program for Albuquerque elementary school students, assisting with a PPE drive and feeding front line health care workers. I am extremely proud of their resiliency and dedication to their sport, this University and to the community. We will do everything possible to support them.”

UNM Athletics

UNM Athletic Department releases statement on positive COVID-19 test

The University of New Mexico athletic department released a statement this afternoon that one of its athletes, coaches, or staff tested positive on Saturday, June 27th.

Per the release from Director of Athletics, Eddie Nuñez:

“The University of New Mexico Athletics Department conducted 88 COVID-19 tests on Saturday, June 27.  Those tests were conducted on student-athletes, coaches and staff in preparation for the commencement of voluntary workouts that are permitted to begin the second week of July.

 Of the 88 tests, 87 came up negative with one positive test for COVID-19.  Our medical team has worked with the individual who tested positive.  All provisions and steps have been taken, and the individual is doing well. We will continue to follow our own department and University guidelines as well as all state and city regulations, and we will continue to work with our medical team moving forward.”

This is the first known positive test of someone in the athletic program testing positive for the virus. The identity of the individual was not included in the release.

Flynn

Malachi Flynn leaving school early to enter NBA Draft

San Diego State point guard Malachi Flynn will forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Flynn averaged 17.6 points and 5.1 assists as a junior last season for an Aztec team that went 30-2 and steamrolled the Mountain West Conference.

“I talked to a lot of people about it, especially my family. My coaches were on board with me going all-in and trying to make a name for myself at the next level, which helped me out a lot. I think I showed teams enough, and it was time to make that step and move forward to the NBA,” Flynn told ESPN.

Flynn went on to say that the fact that the Aztecs missed out on a chance to play in this season’s canceled March Madness tournament made his decision more difficult.

“One of the biggest things that had me wanting to come back was not playing in March Madness.”

According to Givony, Flynn ranks 40th on ESPN’s top 100 players entering this year’s draft.