Doug Martin

New Mexico State announces hiring of safeties coach Brian Bell


It’s not often Cinco de Mayo comes and goes with a full-time opening on an FBS coaching staff, but that’s what happened on Doug Martin‘s New Mexico State staff.

The Aggies announced Wednesday the hiring of safeties coach Brian Bell, formerly of Minnesota State-Mankato, where he spent eight seasons working with the secondary and serving as recruiting coordinator.

Bell will also assist with New Mexico State’s special teams.

“We’re excited about getting him at New Mexico State,” Martin in a statement. “He’s coming from a very successful, winning program. He’s and excellent teacher and a fundamentals coach. He knows how to win and that’s how we make our program better.”

In addition to Minnesota State-Mankato, Bell previously coached at Dakota State, Iowa Central Community College and Eisenhower High School in Aldine, Texas.

(Photo credit: New Mexico State athletics)

Report: New Mexico State loses assistant coach to FCS program

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It’s been difficult the New Mexico State Aggies in recent years. The program hasn’t experienced a winning season since 2002, and it just lost an assistant coach to a team at the FCS level.

According to, offensive line coach Walt Wells will leave New Mexico State to become the assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.

Wells was officially hired by New Mexico State head coach Doug Martin last May.

“I’m extremely excited to be coming out to New Mexico State and working with Coach Martin, Coach Brandon and the rest of the staff,” Wells said at the time. “With a veteran offensive line coming back in 2014, I’m looking forward to work with that group of young men. I was part of the Sun Belt Conference before and I’m excited to help New Mexico State try and win a Sun Belt championship. I’m appreciative of the opportunity to be coaching at New Mexico State.”

In their first year of play in their return to the Sun Belt Conference, the Aggies finished a 2-10 record. Wells then bolted for another opportunity.

The move will allow Wells to return to one of the schools where he previously had the most success. Wells spent six years with the Colonels before he left for an opportunity to coach at Western Kentucky in 2002.

(Picture courtesy of New Mexico State’s athletic department)

New Mexico St. loses OC to the Mines


Nearly three weeks after a famed Div. II head coach left for a job at a little higher level, his replacement has been revealed.

In a press release sent out Tuesday night, New Mexico State announced that its offensive coordinator, Gregg Brandon, has accepted the job as the new head coach at the Colorado School of Mines.  Brandon will replace Bob Stitt, who left earlier this month to take over at FCS power Montana.

“We thank Coach Brandon for his service here and wish him luck in his new position,” NMSU head coach Doug Martin said in a statement. “When you hire good coaches they get opportunities and this is a great opportunity for Coach Brandon.”

Brandon has spent the past two seasons with the Aggies, and his duties included that of quarterbacks coach.  Martin said he will assume that role moving forward, as well as help coordinate the offense with whomever is added to replace Brandon.

“The timing could not be better for NM State and it also as it gives me the opportunity to do what I love and have been successful at as I will now coach the quarterbacks and coordinate our offense here,” said Martin. “I believe we have as much talent if not more than any team in the Sun Belt on the offensive side of the ball and I look forward to us developing that talent.”

(Photo credit: New Mexico State athletics)

Boise State running back Jay Ajayi declares for NFL Draft


Boise State running back Jay Ajayi will play his final game as a Bronco in the upcoming Fiesta Bowl against Arizona. Ajayi announced Sunday he will enter himself into the 2015 NFL Draft, passing on his final year of eligibility at Boise State.

Ajayi informed his teammates while in the huddle for the final rep in practice on Sunday. He reportedly made his decision to enter the NFL Draft without hearing from the NFL advisory group in place to assist with the decision-making for underclassmen thinking about leaving for the NFL Draft.

Ajayi was the second-leading rusher in the Mountain West Conference in 2014 with 1,689 rushing yards, but he was the conference’s leader with 25 rushing touchdowns. His 25 rushing touchdowns are second in the nation only to Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.

The NFL Draft has not been particularly kind to running backs in recent seasons. Last year there was not a single running back chosen in the first round of the draft. There was also a record number of underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft, which left many without a football home in 2014. Ajayi will be likely to be drafted somewhere between the second and fifth round of the draft, although exactly when he may go is difficult to predict.

Boise State has had six running backs drafted in NFL Draft history. Doug Martin to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers in 2012 is the most recent Broncos running back to be picked.

Boise State will face Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl on December 31.

New Mexico State hires Southern Illinois’ Mario Moccia as AD

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New Mexico State has plucked away Southern Illinois athletics director Mario Moccia to lead its own department, the school announced on Monday.

Moccia is a New Mexico State alum, which explains why he’d leave a stable Division I program for a department straddling between the its mismatched place in the Sun Belt (in football) and the flailing WAC (in everything else). He’ll earn $240,000 a year, plus incentives.

“This is an exciting day for me and my family,” Moccia said in a statement. “Returning to one’s alma mater is an opportunity not afforded to many people and to come back to Las Cruces and New Mexico State University where I have so many fond memories as a student-athlete makes me a very fortunate individual. I know my wife, Heidi, and children Addie and Gemma are excited as well.

“At the same time there are mixed emotions of leaving a tremendous athletic staff, program and so many friends in the southern Illinois area,” he said. “After eight plus years you create many close friendships and both Heidi and I hope that the distance won’t be an obstacle to continuing them.”

“While I am disappointed to see Mario leave, I completely understand what a unique and fulfilling opportunity it will be for him to serve as athletic director at his alma mater,” Southern Illinois head coach Dale Lennon said. “I will always be grateful for the privilege of working under his leadership and for his unwavering support of the Saluki football program.”

Moccia inherits one of the most challenging football situations in FBS. The Aggies are 4-19 in two years under head coach Doug Martin with one game remaining this season. The Aggies have not won a conference championship since 1978, and last played in a bowl game in 1960.

Moccia had been Southern Illinois’ AD since 2006. A former baseball player, Moccia spent time in the Detroit Tigers’ farm system and was inducted into the school’s athletics hall of fame in 1998.

Moccia was named the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year in 2013.

(Photo credit: New Mexico State athletics)