Lobos’ search focused solely on current/former head coaches

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As the first Div. 1-A program to off their head coach this season, New Mexico has gotten a head start on finding a replacement for Mike Locksley.

Based on the words of the top official in the school’s athletic department, the Lobos would also like to be the first to fill their coaching vacancy.  And fill it with someone who has been a sideline boss in a previous coaching life.

By way of KOB-TV, vice president of athletics Paul Krebs said during his weekly radio appearance earlier this week that the sole focus of the Lobos’ coaching search is on current or former head coaches.  While Krebs did not divulge any specific names — even as he copped to already interviewing several candidates — the television station’s website tossed out the likes of Mike Leach, Jim Leavitt, Gary Barnett and current Toledo head coach Tim Beckman as possibilities for the position.

One of those coaches mentioned by the station likely isn’t a candidate, however; Barnett, the former Colorado and Northwestern head coach, told CFT via email Friday morning that neither he nor his agent have have had any contact with the Lobos about the vacancy.

Krebs also indicated that he would like to make a hiring before the end of the 2011 season.  The Lobos close the year Dec. 3 at Boise State.

“Ideally we would bring in a coach before the season is over.  Not to coach the team but to assess the team and the talent,” Krebs said.

Regardless of the coach who takes over the Lobos football program, they’ll have a helluva row to hoe to just get the Lobos back to within the vicinity of respectability.  Under Locksley, who was fired four games into the season, the Lobos were 1-11 in both 2009 and 2010; this season, they are winless in eight games.  Over the past 36 games dating back to late October of 2008, the Lobos have exactly two wins.

So, yeah, good luck to whomever draws the short straw and becomes Locksley’s successor.