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NM head coach steps down

NM head coach steps down

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By TIM KORTE Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Rocky Long is stepping down after 11 seasons at the helm of New Mexico's football team.

Long's resignation is effective immediately, athletic department spokesman Greg Remington confirmed Monday.

Long said in a statement that he appreciated all of the support during his tenure and he thanked former athletics director Rudy Davalos, UNM President David Schmidly and athletic director Paul Krebs for helping make the program better over the years.

"I think the football program has a solid foundation and is in a position to really improve, given new leadership," Long said in a statement.

Long, the winningest head coach in school history, compiled a 65-69 record and took the Lobos to five bowl appearances in seven seasons since 2002.

The Lobos wrapped up their 2008 season Saturday with a 20-6 loss at Colorado State. They finished 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Mountain West Conference, marking the most losses for UNM overall and in conference play since 1998 when it finished 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the final season of the Western Athletic Conference.

Krebs said Long's decision was unexpected.

"We can't say enough about the accomplishments and contributions that Rocky has made to the University of New Mexico," Krebs said. "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."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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