It has been more than four decades since Albuquerque witnessed a double-digit winning season from the New Mexico Lobos football team. Now, heading into the 2023 season, it is season four for the current regime.
New Mexico Lobos Coaching Staff, 2023
Head Coach, Danny Gonzalez
Gonzalez is now officially in his fourth season, and this season will determine the direction the Lobos will take or if the university will need to search for a new head coach after the season.
Gonzalez has not achieved more than three victories in a single season, and last year’s team finished with a 2-10 record.
However, there is a positive omen on his side: his predecessor, Bob Davie, struggled with three consecutive sub-.500 seasons, settling for 3-4 wins. In his fourth year, the team had a 7-6 campaign, ending UNM’s seven-year bowl drought. The following year witnessed a 9-4 campaign in 2016.
The Lobos have gone six consecutive seasons without making a bowl game. Perhaps this fortune could work in favor of Albuquerque native Gonzalez. However, in order to reverse the current slide the Lobos are on, Gonzalez ended up replacing all but one offensive assistant.
Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks, Bryant Vincent
It’s season one for Vincent, who comes to UNM via Alabama-Birmingham. He was hired in December 2022.
His Blazers offense racked up 30.1 points per game and ranked 33rd in the nation with 438.2 yards per game. One of his standouts was DeWayne McBride, who was selected in the seventh round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2023. McBride accumulated 1,713 rushing yards, placing him second in the nation.
The 47-year-old also served as the interim head coach for the Bahamas Bowl when Bill Clark retired. As for his new position, Vincent becomes the third Offensive Coordinator for UNM, following Derek Warehime (relieved of his duties during the season) and Heath Ridenour, who served as the interim OC.
Quarterbacks Coach, Heath Ridenour
Staying with Ridenour, he resumes his position as QBs coach and will share that duty with Vincent. He witnessed three of his QBs earning snaps last season, including Miles Kendrick, Justin Holaday, and C.J. Montes. Ridenour initially made the jump to college football from the high school ranks, where he coached at nearby Cleveland High and guided the Storm to three state titles between 2019 and 2021.
Special Teams Coach and Running Backs Coach, Jamie Christian
Christian enters his fourth season at UNM. However, he is no stranger to success in the Mountain West Conference. He was on the coaching staff at Fresno State when the Bulldogs won the outright MWC title and the Las Vegas Bowl in 2018. He has also proven to be a successful recruiter, helping secure the commitment of future Fresno State record-breaker and current Los Angeles Rams running back Ronnie Rivers. In 2012, he flipped Notre Dame wide receiver commit Deontay Greenberry to Houston when Christian was on the UH staff.
Offensive Line Coach, Cam Blakenship
Blakenship is another new addition who comes over from UAB. He was part of the Blazers’ program revival in 2017 and went on to produce three bowl appearances and two Conference USA titles. He coached a total of 11 All-CUSA offensive linemen. His aim will be to improve a unit that surrendered 43 sacks last season.
Tight Ends Coach, Joe Scelfo
Scelfo is one of the new faces joining Blakenship and Vincent on offense. He comes over from Gardner-Webb, where he oversaw the offensive line unit. He also brings a background as a run game coordinator to UNM, as Gardner-Webb rushed for 2,323 yards on the ground last season. This will be his first time coaching tight ends.
Wide Receivers Coach, Cornelius Williams
Williams is the fourth newcomer to the offensive side of the ball and was officially hired in January. He comes from the Nick Saban coaching tree, having worked as an offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide in 2022. He has previous experience as a wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Troy, where his wideouts earned a total of 14 Sun Belt Conference honors.
Williams also shares a connection with Vincent and Blakenship, as he was at UAB in 2014 before the program briefly shut down.
Defensive Coordinator and Cornerbacks Coach, Troy Reffett
Reffett is on his second stint with UNM, having previously worked with Rocky Long from 2004 to 2008. During that time, the Lobo teams made three bowl appearances and achieved a total of 32 wins. He has also coached at North Texas as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach from 2016 to 2019.
Other stops in his career include Memphis in 2015 and Louisiana-Monroe from 2009 to 2014, where he served as the defensive coordinator, cornerbacks coach, and linebackers coach.
Defensive Line Coach, Jerome Haywood
Haywood is entering his fourth season with the Lobos. He previously worked at San Diego State, where he also collaborated with former Lobos head coach Rocky Long. Haywood’s unit saw six different starters in 2022 but collectively recorded 27 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. During his playing career at SDSU, Haywood excelled as a defensive lineman and earned three consecutive second-team All-MWC selections.
Linebackers Coach, Jake Rothschiller
Rothschiller is entering his second season as the linebackers coach at Duke City, after initially starting as a graduate assistant. Under his guidance, the linebacker unit achieved a significant milestone with the Lobos’ first 100-tackle performer in eight seasons, as Cody Moon surpassed the three-digit mark. Dion Hunter and Reco Hannah also thrived under his coaching, with both players surpassing 65 tackles.
Safeties Coach, David Howes
Similar to Ridenour, Howes was a highly successful high school coach in the state, leading Rio Rancho High to two state championships. He has been with UNM since January 2020. Howes recently coached Jerrick Reed, who received All-MWC honorable mention recognition and led the Lobos with 11 pass deflections.
The rest of the 2023 Lobos staff are:
- Operations Grad Assistant, Ben Maurer
- Director of Athletic Performance, Derrick Baker
- Assistant Dir. of Athletic Performance, Tim Gray
- Offensive Grad Assistant, Byron Bell
- Defensive Grad Assistant, Dante Caro
- Associate Director of Equipment, Ashley Nowak
- Director of Player Development, Jalen Harvey