New Mexico signs longtime coach Long to five-year deal

Updated: August 19, 2008, 6:53 PM ET
By Graham Watson | ESPN.com

New Mexico coach Rocky Long signed a five-year contract Tuesday, extending his current deal, which was set to expire Dec. 31, 2009, through June 30, 2013.

Long's total salary will increase from $439,000 to $750,000, making him the fourth-highest paid coach in the Mountain West behind TCU's Gary Patterson ($1.2 million), BYU's Bronco Mendenhall ($1 million) and Colorado State's Steve Fairchild ($800,000). Long was previously tied with UNLV's Mike Snaford as the lowest paid coach in the conference.

"We're thrilled that Rocky has agreed to guide our football program for another five years," vice president for athletics Paul Krebs said. "The program's success under Rocky Long -- academically and competitively -- is unmatched in the history of Lobo football. Rocky and I have been in agreement about the compensation component of the contract for several months. It just took a little longer for the respective parties to review and approve the entire document."

Long, 58, is beginning his 11th season at New Mexico, his alma mater, and has amassed a 61-61 overall record. The Lobos have been to five bowls in the last six seasons after only six bowl appearances prior to 2001. Last season, New Mexico notched its first bowl win in 46 years with a 23-0 victory over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl.

New Mexico is the only school in the Mountain West to gain bowl eligiblity every year since 2001. It's the only program in the Mountain West that has won at least six games each of the past seven seasons.

"I appreciate the commitment that president [David] Schmidly and Paul Krebs have made to the Lobo football program," Long said. "This announcement is not so much about my compensation, but about the financial commitment that has been provided our program by the University in the areas of academics, facilities, recruiting and assistant coaches' salaries. It gives us a chance to be competitive on a national scale."

Graham Watson covers college football for ESPN.com.

Graham Watson | email

College Football
Watson joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four seasons covering the Missouri Tigers and the Big 12 Conference for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also covered college football recruiting for the Dallas Morning News.