The University of New Mexico along with TheRedMenace.com has a long tradition of being part of and proud of the walk-on tradition at UNM. From guys like Brian Johnson, Ryan Cook, Casey Kelly, Josh Bazinet… to guys that will be walking on like David Anaya. TRM spoke with Coach Bob Davie about his walk-on program.

When Coach Bob Davie took over this program he knew there would be many challenges. Coming off of a 3 straight 1-11 seasons, coming off of NCAA sanctions that limited the amount of players UNM could sign the past 3 years, multiple players leaving the program who were loyal to the former coach. So there is a body problem at UNM, as in not enough bodies to fill all the spots.

"We are in a situation here quite honestly because of our numbers situation that we are not going to get anywhere close to 85 on scholarship even signing a full 25," says Coach Davie. "There is no way we get to 85 total by next year."

How big is the body problem? "The past three years of the 67 scholarship players brought in to UNM, 36 are still here and 31 have left the program, says Davie.

Where can UNM turn to alleviate this problem? Why UNM's own back yard of course, and while they are at it bring back the tradition of a strong walk-on program. In case you don't know UNM is holding open tryouts on Wednesday February 29th to help fill the roster. More information can be found at golobos.com

"I hate to classify guys as walk-ons as they are all treated the same," says Davie. "The only difference is that they are not on a full scholarship they are treated exactly the same, coached exactly the same, and we have the same expectations for them as we do for all our players."

Coach Davie says he has special respect for non-scholarship athletes that come to UNM for professional and private reasons. "Everywhere I've coached at Texas A&M the 12th man walk on program was started and I saw what it did for the university and for the football team. I also appreciated that and at Notre Dame where it costs over 40K a year to go to school, I embraced walk-ons because of the sacrifice and the commitment they make. Personally, my son Clay was a walk-on at Arizona State for 4 years so I hold those guys in high regard, and our walk on program is number 1 to me."

Clay Davie

Coach are you saying these young men can compete for playing time, possibly even starting? "I don't think there is another place in the country that you are going to get a better opportunity or be as important to the foundation of the program than right here at the University of New Mexico, and that isn't lip service it is very important to me," responded Davie.

This has to be music to the ears of future Lobo walk-on David Anaya of Goddard High School whom I spoke with recently. Anaya told me he was going to walk-on this fall. "Coach Davie seems like a great guy. I talked to him a couple of times he seems like an awesome coach and he is going to do great things at UNM and I wanted to be a part of it,"
Goddard's David Anaya

Coach Davie wants local New Mexicans dream to play for the University of New Mexico and he is looking at ways for New Mexicans to take big time pride in being a Lobo! "I even entertain the thought that at some point we have an all New Mexico kick off team that every kid that runs down that runs down that field on home games is from New Mexico," says Davie. "We aren't at that point yet, but I hope to build to that point. I want New Mexico players to feel a sense of pride about this team."

Anaya is one of those that had that dream early and is going to experience that dream come fall. "I had an offer to Eastern New Mexico and NMMI as well," said Anaya. "I really wanted to be a Lobo, when I first walked into the football offices as a frosh at Goddard I had a dream of going to UNM, so now that the time has come to choose college I decided why not follow my dream."

So what about more New Mexico players coach both scholarship and those without a full ride scholarship. How do they experience the dream?

"First of all we are going to reach out to them, we are going to find them. Keep in mind when we got here we had basically a 3-4 week recruiting cycle here, so I wouldn't have anyone in the state jump to any conclusions about where our recruiting priorities are, "says Davie. "I will tell you where our priorities are. They are Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. That is our priorities those are instate areas to us. 8 members of our staff will have a New Mexico area, 8 members of our staff will have a Texas area, and that is how we are going to do it!"

While Davie can't speak about individual players (walk-ons can still be recruited by other schools until they start attending classes) "I've reached out and some of these guys that are going to walk on I've probably had more conversations with them than those that are scholarship guys that is how important they are to me."

Both Coach Davie and David Anaya had a final word of advice to all football players that didn't end up with a scholarship

"We have the same expectations and same opportunities for you just like we do anyone that had a scholarship," says Davie. "We will find you, don't worry."

 Anaya adds, "I would tell them it is a great idea as anything is possible if you think you can do it and have confidence that you can play football I say go for it!"

Inside The Lobos Top Stories