A former executive producer of University of New Mexico Lobo TV sports programming and long-time news producer for KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reported yesterday on his Facebook page that UNM will fire football coach Mike Locksley and hire Mike Leach as Locksley’s replacement after the Lobos play in-state rival New Mexico State on Oct. 9.
New Mexico’s football radio broadcast flagship KOB-AM reportedly then picked up the Facebook entry from Gerges Scott, who is now a crisis communications consultant. KOB-FM subsequently mentioned its sister station’s report about the Locksley’s firing on its Twitter page:
“Rumors coming from our sister station 770 KKOB that UNM Lobos football coach Mike Locksley will be fired after the game at NMSU on October 9th, and replaced with ANOTHER controversial coach!”
The ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL reports that Scott said he was told the news by “unnamed sources.“
In just over a season as New Mexico football coach, Locksley has gone 1-14 and been suspended for a game by the school after admitting to a physical altercation with an assistant coach. During that time Locksley has also been accused of sexual harassment by a UNM employee and aggressively confronting a UNM student reporter with a profane outburst.
Locksley was hired by current New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs, who late Wednesday denied to the Journal that Locksley’s job was in jeopardy. Krebs said, “He’s our coach, period.”
It’s worth noting that current UNM president David Schmidly was president of Texas Tech and involved in the hiring of Leach at that school in 2000. Leach eventually became the all-time winningest coach in Texas Tech school history in any sport before being ousted by the school over a dispute involving the son of ESPN commentator Craig James last season.
Leach, who is currently serving as a college football game analyst for CBS Sports, has a wrongful termination lawsuit against Texas Tech pending. Will that current lawsuit affect Leach’s ability to take a coaching job next month? We may soon find out.
UPDATE: John Taylor at CollegeFootballTalk.com reports that Leach’s attorney said today that there’s “zero truth” to discussion that his client may be hired by New Mexico as football coach.
Brady Ackerman of ESPN Radio in Gainesville also reported via Twitter, “Mike Leach just told me this is the first he’s heard of the New Mexico rumor.“