Monday, January 17, 2011

At NMSU, Tony Samuel is the coach that got away

Just days after winning the Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS coach of the year, Tony Samuel was a hot topic in New Mexico.

Not as a potential coach, but as the coach who got away.

Samuel was fired after serving as New Mexico State's football coach from 1997 to 2004. His team went 5-6 in 2004, and the school decided to not renew his contract. He landed at Southeast, where his team set school records in its 9-3 season in 2010. He won the Eddie Robinson Award earlier this month.

A story last week in the Las Cruces Sun-News asks a popular question these days at NMSU: Did the Aggies let Samuel go too soon?

Consider: New Mexico State has struggled since Samuel left, even after hiring well-traveled coach Hal Mumme as Samuel's replacement. Mumme went 11-38 before he was fired after the 2008 season, and the Aggies have gone 5-20 since.

As one fan told the Sun-News: "You don't fire a coach with five wins (in his final season) at New Mexico State. You carry him off on your shoulders."

Click here to read the full article.

Samuel, by the way, is under contract for just two more weeks at Southeast. His current deal expires Jan. 31, and the school has not announced an extension.

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