By Daniel Libit
The University of New Mexico has retained an outside investigator to look into various allegations made against Lobo football coach Bob Davie, NMFishbowl.com has learned.
According to multiple sources apprised of the investigation, the school is looking into specific claims of player mistreatment, as well as allegations about the athlete drug-testing process being compromised.
The Davie investigation was initiated in recent months, sources say, following the latest round of athlete exit interviews conducted over the spring.
NMFishbowl.com has not been told who the school has tasked with carrying out the investigation, or what precisely triggered it. However, sources say that the severity and volume of the allegations made by players were deemed to be of a serious enough nature as to warrant outside review.
“I can confirm there is an investigation underway in Athletics,” said UNM spokesperson Cinnamon Blair. “We are not going to comment on the details or the individuals involved until the investigation is complete.”
Davie, who was hired by UNM in 2012, has dramatically turned around a Lobo football program that had fallen into disarray under the previous coach, Mike Locksley.
With Davie at the helm, the Lobos have finished with winning records and bowl invites each of the last two seasons, after having mustered just three total wins in the three years under Locksley.
Locksley’s tenure also saw numerous off-the-field embarrassments, including an incident in which the former head coach was reprimanded for physically striking an assistant. Meanwhile, Davie has received laudatory praise by both local and national media for having elevated the professionalism and culture of the Lobo football program.
But despite the patina of success, there have been past indications of distress.
In January, NMFishbowl.com reported on athlete exit interviews from the previous two seasons, in which Davie stood out as a prime target of player discontent. According to contemporaneous notes produced by UNM’s Athletic Council, which were obtained through an Inspection of Public Records Act request, outgoing Lobo football players “felt awkward around (Davie)” and found that the head coach had “no personal relationship with players.”
However, sources say, the current investigation into Davie was prompted after the school was told of far more serious allegations about the coach than those reflected in the notes of past years’ exit interviews.
In the wake of our January report, UNM’s Athletic Department put out a lengthy press release criticizing NMFishbowl.com’s decision to publish the “raw” exit-interview notes. In May, NMFishbowl.com made another IPRA request seeking notes related to 2017 athlete exit interviews — and specifically those that might reference Davie or Lobo football. A month later, UNM claimed that no such responsive documents existed.
Update 9/14/17: According to the Albuquerque Journal, Davie declined to comment Wednesday evening when asked about the investigation.
(Lead image by Norm Hall/Getty)