Nov. 17, 2008

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Ticker) -- Rocky Long on Monday stepped down as New Mexico's football coach after an 11-year tenure.

The winningest coach in program history, Long compiled a 65-69 record as the coach of his alma mater and guided the Lobos to five bowl appearances since 2002. New Mexico made just six bowl appearances from 1938-2001.

"I really appreciate all the support of the loyal Lobo fans throughout the years," said Long, who was a three-year starter at quarterback for New Mexico from 1969-71. "I think the football program has a solid foundation and is in a position to really improve, given new leadership." "For as long as people talk about Lobos football, they'll talk about Rocky Long, because for as long as we've been playing football at UNM, no coach has been more of a winner than Rocky, and his winning relationship with UNM goes back almost 40 years now," school president David Schmidly said.

The Lobos (4-8, 2-6 Mountain West) ended their season with a 20-6 loss at Colorado State last Saturday. It was their worst campaign since 1998.

"Coach Long's decision to step down was unexpected," vice president of athletics Paul Krebs said. "We can't say enough about the accomplishments and contributions that Rocky has made to the University of New Mexico.

"He is arguably the most successful coach in the history of Lobo football. Because of Rocky's passion and devotion to his alma mater, the program has been elevated, and we are optimistic about the future."