With the notable exception of Mike Price's at Alabama, probably no coach in recent memory has reached a crisis point at a new job more quickly than New Mexico's Mike Locksley: In nine months in Albuquerque, Locksley has been sued for age discrimination and sexual harassment, admitted to punching an assistant coach in the face, been reprimanded by the university, lost his first six games as a head coach at a program with some recent history of success and lost a significant portion of the fan base.
The situation was bad enough that the university was half-expected to announce Locksley's resignation or termination today; depending on your perspective, he may have gotten off relatively easy with a suspension that will bar him from the team before and during the Lobos' game with UNLV next Saturday, per Rivals' Tom Dienhart:
New Mexico coach Mike Locksley will be suspended for 10 days without pay in the wake of a university investigation into an altercation with an assistant coach, a source close to the situation told Rivals.com.
A news conference is expected Tuesday afternoon. Locksley will miss the Lobos’ next game Oct. 24 against UNLV.
The good news for Locksley, so to speak, is that the distractions are falling by the wayside: The discrimination suit has been resolved, according to the university, and J.B. Gerald, the coach Locksley punched after Gerald told his boss "whatever" during an argument, hasn't been back and is apparently leaving the program. Which only leaves the suspension to serve and a truly terrible team to come home to.
And then there's the really morbid question: What if the Locksley-less Lobos earn their first win against the 2-4 Rebels -- an outfit New Mexico has dominated this decade and which is likely to be coming off its fourth straight loss with Utah coming to Vegas this weekend -- without their head coach in the preparation for the game or on the sideline? Locksley would return with all of the Mountain West's heavy hitters on deck in November and a team wondering if it's better off without him. And if UNM doesn't beat UNLV, there's it good chance it won't win at all this year.
[UPDATE 7:02 p.m. ET] The university confirmed the 10-day suspension this evening. Secondary coach George Barlow will take over Locksley's role as head coach in the interim.