New Mexico Gets Only "A" In CBS Sports Dennis Dodd Grading of New Mountain West Football Head Coaches

Photo Courtesy of University of New Mexico Athletic Department

Tracy Ringolsby

There was barely a tremor on the Division I football coaching front this off-season.

Only 17 schools changed head coaches That compares to 28 Division 1 programs making changes a year ago and 21 schools the year before that.

The Mountain West Conference, however, accounted for four changes -- two to replace predecessors who were fired -- Bob Davie at New Mexico and Mike Bobo at Colorado State -- and two to replace coaches who stepped down on their own accord -- Rocky Long at San Diego State and Jeff Tedford at Fresno State.

In evaluating the changes, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports is high on Danny Gonzales at New Mexico, so-so on Marcus Arroyo at UNLV and Kaelen DeBoer at Fresno State, and unimpressed with Steve Addazio at Colorado State.

Gonzales has strong ties to the Lobos. A native of New Mexico, he was a five-year student athlete at the University of New Mexico, where he served as a graduate assistant and full--time assistant. He received strong endorsements from Rocky Long, who he played for at New Mexico and served on the staff of with both the Lobos and San Diego State, as well as Herm Edwards, the coach at Arizona State, Gonzales's most recent stop.

"Rocky told me it's your time, don't screw it up, it's our team," Gonzales said at the news conference to announce his hiring.  

And much like Wyoming coach Craig Bohl, emphasizing recruiting the Wyoming/Colorado area, which has led to success for the Cowboys, Gonzales wants to get the Lobos refocused on the Silver State.

 "I'm a New Mexico kid," he said at the news conference. "We are going to recruit New Mexico kids. When I was here before, our best players were the kids from New Mexico, because it meant something to them. . . If they want to be here and they can play football, they are going to be a Lobo."

Dodd's Evaluation of the new faces in the Mountain West:

Grade A-

New Mexico: Danny Gonzales

How do we put this mildly? New Mexico doesn’t deserve Danny Gonzales. The program hasn’t mattered in years. The university kept Bob Davie way beyond his sell-by date. But Gonzales, 43, is a former New Mexico walk-on who coached under Rocky Long with the Lobos and San Diego State. At Arizona State, he was considered one of the nation’s best defensive coordinators and was a valued member of Herm Edwards’ staff. Let’s hope New Mexico provides Gonzales with the resources he needs to assemble a staff and recruit. The Lobos were 2-10 last season and went winless in the Mountain West. They’ve been to two bowls in the last 13 years. 

Grade C+

UNLV: Marcus Arroyo

The Rebels get an upgrade if only because Arroyo has college experience. Tony Sanchez was elevated straight from local Bishop Gorman High School and flopped, going 20-40 in five seasons. Oregon’s Mario Cristobal inherited Arroyo as OC after Taggart left. How about this for an upgrade? In his second season, Arroyo was OC for the Pac-12 champions. UNLV has been a long-suffering program. Arroyo is the face of a program that moves into the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium. 

Grade C

Fresno State: Kaelen DeBoer

It took long enough on the parts of both parties to finally get this deal done. DeBoer, 46, is seen as continuity after the retirement of Jeff Tedford. During his two seasons as offensive coordinator at Fresno (2017-18), the Bulldogs were eighth and third in Mountain West scoring offense. In the two previous season,. Fresno State was 10th and 12th (last). DeBoer is leaving Indiana where he helped the Hoosiers to eight wins for the first time since 1993. Only Ohio State was better in the Big Ten in total offense. Could DeBoer have hung on for a year or two and gotten a better job? This guy has made the right move each step of his career. 

Grade D

Colorado State: Steve Addazio

This job went to Addazio after Urban Meyer reportedly intervened. Meyer’s second job as a college coach was as a receivers coach at Colorado State from 1990-95. Addazio, a former Meyer assistant, is 60 and a .500 coach in his career (57-55) with a reputation for sluggish ground-based offenses. CSU needs an exciting program to match its exciting home, Canvas Stadium, where beer flows at the New Belgium Porch. Addazio’s BC offenses finished above 68th nationally once in seven years. Pass the pale ale.

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