The University of New Mexico is hiring Danny Gonzales as its next head coach, sources told Yahoo Sports. Gonzales is the defensive coordinator at Arizona State, where he also serves as the assistant head coach.
Gonzales is a former walk-on at New Mexico who became a three-year letter winner. He has an undergraduate and graduate degree from the school. He’s from Albuquerque and graduated from Valley High School.
Gonzales’ strong ties to New Mexico include playing and coaching under Rocky Long, the current head coach at San Diego State. Gonzales worked as a graduate assistant coach, video coordinator and assistant coach at New Mexico from 1999-2008. He then went to San Diego State where he eventually rose to become Long’s defensive coordinator.
Gonzales has been a key member of Herm Edwards’ staff the past two seasons, as he’s regarded as the program’s most valuable assistant coaches and recruiters.
This year, ASU finished No. 22 nationally in rushing defense and No. 5 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense. ASU’s defense jumped significantly under Gonzales during his first season there in 2018, as the Sun Devils improved more than 50 spots in the national rankings by averaging a touchdown less per game.
Gonzales takes over one of the worst programs in the Group of Five. New Mexico was 8-28 the past three seasons under Bob Davie, whose tenure was marked by health issues and off-field controversies the past few seasons. The program has been riddled with problems, including Davie being suspended in 2018 after multiple allegations of alleged misconduct.
New Mexico is regarded as one of the most difficult jobs in the Mountain West Conference. In Gonzales, it has found an alum who’ll embrace the challenges and face what promises to be a significant rebuild. The Lobos finished 2-10 this season, went winless in the Mountain West and their only FBS victory came against New Mexico State.
For Arizona State, the departure of Gonzales means that Edwards will replace both coordinators. He fired offensive coordinator Rob Likens and replaced him with Zak Hill from Boise State. Now Edwards will have to replace the most important member of his coaching staff.
More from Yahoo Sports: