Long unretires, returns to New Mexico as defensive coordinator

Field Level Media

January 27, 2020 at 8:11 pm.

Rocky Long’s retirement lasted less than three weeks as the former San Diego State coach returned to New Mexico as defensive coordinator on Monday.

Long’s hiring was revealed in a tweet by new Lobos coach Danny Gonzales, who served as an assistant under Long at both New Mexico and San Diego State. Long served as Lobos coach from 1998-2008 and spent nine seasons as coach of the Aztecs before retiring earlier this month with a 146-107 overall record.

“I’m tremendously excited to have Rocky Long back at New Mexico,” Gonzales said in a statement. “Coach Long’s teams at both UNM and San Diego State were known for their defense, and I don’t think there is a better defensive coach in the country. We are lucky to have him back with our program. It’s very exciting.”

Long, who turned 70 on Monday, went 81-38 at San Diego State and won at least 10 games in four of the past five seasons. The Aztecs went 10-3 in 2019.

During his retirement press conference, Long left the door open for a return as a coordinator. “I love coaching, but I don’t necessarily love all the things that head coaches do,” he said.

Only legendary Don Coryell (104-19-2 from 1961-72) has more victories at San Diego State than Long.

Long went 65-69 with five bowl appearances in his stint as New Mexico’s head coach. He also was a quarterback for the school from 1969-71 and passed for 2,390 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 2,071 yards and 21 scores.

Gonzales played his final college season under Long in 1998 before serving in various roles for the Lobos, including as an assistant coach from 2006-08. He joined Long’s San Diego State staff in 2011 and was defensive coordinator in 2007-18 before becoming Arizona State’s defensive coordinator for the 2019 season.

New Mexico hired Gonzales as head coach in mid-December to replace the fired Bob Davie.