Skip to main content
Publish date:

Sources: FCS semifinalist a leading candidate at New Mexico

Afternoon update> New Mexico has now announced they are hiring Danny Gonzales.

Original post>

As we wrote last week, Arizona State's Danny Gonzales and TCU's Curtis Luper are strong candidates for the New Mexico opening, along with a third candidate. Neither has a game this coming weekend, so, there's no incentive not to announce them at this point in time. And yet, here we sit on Signing Day Eve and neither has been announced as head coach.

That's because, as we wrote last week, at least one more candidate remained in the search.

Weber State head coach Jay Hill has emerged as a strong candidate at New Mexico, sources tell FootballScoop.

Hill's Wildcats travel to James Madison for an FCS semifinal game on Saturday (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3).

In his sixth season leading Weber State, Hill has compiled a 37-29 record. After a 2-10 debut and a combined 12-10 mark in 2015-16, Weber State has been an elite program over the past three years and counting: 11-3 with a Big Sky Conference championship in 2017, 10-3 with a Big Sky title in 2018, and now 11-3 with a third straight Big Sky crown and an FCS semifinal berth this season.

Weber State reached the FCS quarterfinals each of the past two seasons. This year's semifinal berth is the deepest Weber State has gone in the FCS playoffs.

While he does not have the history at New Mexico like alum Gonzales or former Lobo assistant Luper, Hill has a winning track record as a head coach and boasts a lengthy run as an assistant at the FBS level. Prior to landing the Weber State job in 2014, Hill spent 13 years at Utah, rising from a graduate assistant to a full-time assistant, where he coached positions on both sides of the ball and served as special teams coordinator. Hill worked under Utes head coaches Ron McBride, Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham while in Salt Lake City.

Hill serves as his own defensive coordinator at Weber State, and his team ranks 14th nationally in scoring defense, 12th in third down defense and tied for fourth in turnover margin.

Gonzales and Luper remain in play, and there are plenty of balls still in the air here. For one, should Weber State win on Saturday the Wildcats would advance to the FCS National Championship, which isn't until Jan. 11. New Mexico could announce a hiring before then -- Wyoming announced Craig Bohl on Dec. 8, 2013, and he coached North Dakota State to a national title the following month -- but there's still plenty of lag time here for either side to get cold feet, or for another candidate to emerge.

As of now, though, it appears Hill has moved to the front of the line in Albuquerque.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.