New Mexico fires Danny Gonzales after 4 years as head coach

New Mexico fired head coach Danny Gonzales on Saturday after a four-year stint in which he went 11-32 at his alma mater.

The school announced the move Saturday night in the wake of a 4-8 season, which was his highest win total in Gonzales' tenure.

"In the end, we did not achieve the results on the field that we had wanted," athletic director Eddie Nunez said in a statement.

Gonzales came to his alma mater from Arizona State, where he served as a defensive coordinator. He brought the 3-3-5 scheme that he learned as a player and assistant at New Mexico under Rocky Long, but struggled throughout his four years to find consistency on offense.

New Mexico hasn't played in a bowl game since 2016 and is generally considered a difficult job because of the lack of local talent.

New Mexico lost four of five to end the season in 2023, with the lone win being an upset at Fresno State on Nov. 18. New Mexico finished 2-6 in Mountain West play and lost to rival New Mexico State.

"While I'm disappointed, I will always appreciate and be grateful for the opportunity to return to the University of New Mexico and lead the football program as head coach," Gonzales said. "I'm proud of the program we built and will always cheer on my alma mater in the future."

Gonzales will be a sought-after defensive coordinator, as he's run the 3-3-5 at both ASU and San Diego State, and he brings extensive West Coast recruiting experience. He was nominated for the Broyles Award in 2018.

Gonzales didn't play a home game in 2020 as the team moved in order to play seven games during the shortened COVID-19 season. His teams didn't figure out the offensive side until this year, as they jumped from No. 108 in total offense in 2022 to No. 47 this year under coordinator Bryant Vincent.

Nunez's statement generally lauded Gonzales' tenure, but he simply didn't win enough.

"Danny helped bring stability to our football program during a difficult time and played a big role in fostering a positive culture throughout our Department of Athletics," Nunez said. "He truly cares about the University of New Mexico and all of our programs, and we are grateful for the lasting impact he has had on the student-athletes on our campus."