Editor in Chief
University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie said he will not travel with the team to Notre Dame next weekend for the team’s football game for health reasons.
But does he have any definite plans after Sept. 14?
Meanwhile, Enchantment Sports must correct an erroneous report that Davie’s office, once filled with several team helmets, pictures on the walls and on the office bookshelf, is bare.
Multiple sources told Enchantment Sports that was the case during the past two days, and today we had a photo of the empty office with Bob Davie’s name plate in front. Enchantment Sports tried to verify the information and photo before publishing the story, but did not get a comment until after it was published.
A local television news station also told Enchantment Sports it had verified the empty office was Davie’s.
No excuse. We blew it.
UNM assistant athletic director for communications, Frank Mercogliano, has told Enchantment Sports that the particular office not the head coach’s office, but rather the office for Davie’s assistant recruiting and operations director, Jacob Grant.
“Your sources are unequivocally wrong,” Mercogliano wrote in an email.
We agree. And apologize.
The nameplate on the door to the office says, “Bob Davie.”
Mercogliano said that is because that is the outer office leading into Davie’s office.
The photograph clearly shows the office is smaller than Davie’s, which can be seen during various video interviews online.
Meanwhile, the circumstances surrounding what’s happening with Davie, ever since his “serious medical incident” on Saturday night are just getting more cloudy by the day.
UNM released the following statements from Davie on Thursday morning (Sept. 5):
“While I will be around next week and involved, I have decided to not make the trip to South Bend for our September 14 game with Notre Dame.
After receiving advice from my doctors and wife, I wanted to make this decision now so our team and coaching staff could go into the weekend with clarity and consistency. My doctors have said that with no setbacks I can expect a full recovery with no limitations. I have great confidence in our staff and this gives us our best chance for success and limits the distractions.
Saga Tuitele will serve as acting head coach and will be in charge of game management. Joe Dailey, Jordan Peterson, and Perry Eliano will handle offense, defense, and special teams.”
The situation has gotten plain bizarre, even by UNM athletic department standards.
Davie was taken by ambulance to University of New Mexico Hospital following the Lobos’ season-opening win against Sam Houston State on Saturday night at University Stadium. But the school released very little information, saying only it “appeared to be a serious medical condition. … The university will release more information as it becomes available.”
It has not.
But does it even know any more information?
What we do know is Davie, 64, was fired as head coach at Notre Dame nearly two decades ago and was likely in his final season at UNM, after a tumultuous eight years that include a 34-54 record, a 30-day suspension without pay last year and numerous off-the-field controversies.
What we don’t know includes:
- What was/is Davie’s medical condition?
- Did he undergo surgery?
- When did he get released from the hospital?
- When will he return to the sidelines for a game?
Obviously, UNM can’t say anything about Davie’s health without his consent because of HIPAA rules. But with no one saying anything — and UNM closing football practice this week — Davie and the school are keeping speculation by not providing any updates.
Also, the coaching staff and players now will have to address “the elephant not in the room” while simultaneously trying to prepare for No. 8 Notre Dame on Sept. 14.
Like that won’t be a distraction.
Then again, “transparency” is seemingly the epitome of a non-PC word in the athletic department. That was on full display during Enchantment Sports’ recent series about the Jackson Weller killing, in which UNM officials still have yet to acknowledge the facts.
To this point, who knows whether Davie has even spoken to UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez since Saturday night?
This morning, Nuñez released the following statement in conjunction with Davie’s statement:
“We are very grateful that Coach Davie had an opportunity today to briefly visit with his team and coaches. I know they appreciated being able to see him and visit with him.
Tentatively, Coach Davie will meet with media at his regular weekly press luncheon on Tuesday, September 10. As Coach Davie continues to recover, we ask that you continue to respect his privacy until he is able to return to the sidelines.”
His privacy — that’s fine.
But does UNM’s media department — once called “sports information”– need its privacy, too?
Isn’t UNM a public institution?
If Davie refuses to release medical information, that’s his choice. But for UNM to shut down all communication with the football team? And the school wonders why two-thirds of the stadium was empty for the Lobos’ 2019 home opener?
This was Nuñez’s statement following Saturday night’s game:
“Tonight‘s football game between the University of New Mexico and Sam Houston State University, Lobo head coach Bob Davie was taken to the hospital as a result of what appeared to be a serious medical condition.
“The university will release more information as it becomes available.
“We ask that you keep the Davie family in your prayers.”
Enchantment Sports will continue to ask the tough questions.
In the meantime, we regret and apologize for the horrendous error.
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for more than four decades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in state history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.