University of New Mexico Names New Basketball Coach

Better job, new job, top jobThe University of New Mexico men’s basketball team started a new chapter on April 2, after the university announced that Craig Neal would be the new head basketball coach at the school. Neal, who was formerly the associate head coach of the team, becomes the 20th basketball coach at the university. He has spent six years working with the team, and the university feels that he is the perfect candidate to lead the team into the future. Neal will replace former head coach Steve Alford, who recently left the university to take a job at UCLA.

Not only does Neal have a history of the team and an understanding of how the players work together, he brings a solid record with him. Neal has spent more than 9 seasons coaching college basketball teams in some capacity, both at the University of New Mexico and at the University of Iowa. He has an average of more than 24 wins per year, and has taken his team to the NCAA tournament five times. Neal received a five-year contract, and he will get paid $750,000 per year along with incentives.

The university announced the new head coach in a less-than-traditional way, with Vice President of Athletics Paul Krebs tweeting a single word: “Noodles.” In the 24-hour news cycle and the world of social media, it seemed the only fitting way to announce the new coach to a community of 20-something college students who were anxious to hear who the new leader of their team would be. Noodles is a nickname that Neal earned when he was a young basketball player in Indiana and playing in college at Georgia Tech. Neal was formally announced as the new head coach at a university press conference that was held on April 2.

In a statement released prior to the press conference, Neal expressed his excitement and his honor over being chosen as the new head basketball coach for the university. He stated that he has enjoyed learning about the program and helping to develop it during the last six years, and he looks forward to making his own mark on the team. He has already had success with his work on the Lobos team, with more than 155 wins during the last six seasons that he has spent with them.

College basketball experts, including the Mountain West Connection, predict that Neal will get to work on recruiting students, as he has three scholarships available. Some say he might even recruit his own son, who is a three-star point guard and ranked the 150th top player in the nation. The only issue is that his son, Cullen Neal, has signed a letter of intent to play at St. Mary’s. Time will tell, however, and one thing is for certain — everyone expects Neal to have a big impact on this team. The community seems supportive of this choice, and the university seems excited to have a coach with a good record and a history with the team.