Ness, Bliss had differences at New Mexico

Updated: August 30, 2003, 10:49 PM ET
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE -- Former Lobos athletic director Gary Ness recalls some unpleasant moments and some NCAA close shaves with Dave Bliss at New Mexico before Ness resigned and returned to the UNM faculty.

Although Bliss enjoyed some of his best years coaching during his 11 seasons in Albuquerque, Ness says the coach played it "dangerously close" to breaking NCAA rules.

Ness says that included coaches helping reinstate a basketball player after he was dropped from two courses; not telling the athletic director about guns confiscated from the locker room; and routinely dancing around rules barring recruits who were unqualified academically from practicing.

Ness says he and Bliss had "philosophical differences," they had harsh words over what he calls "a very shady eligibility issue" and adds: "We don't exchange Christmas cards."

Ness returned to teaching physical education after resigning as Lobo athletic director in 1992. He now coaches football at Albuquerque High.

Bliss moved to Baylor, where his era of promise ended this summer after one player was shot to death and a former player was charged with murder amid allegations of improper tuition payments, suppressed drug test results -- and the coverup, captured on tape, that was attempted by suggesting teammates portray the dead player as a drug dealer.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press