Nuñez: A Look Back, A Look Ahead, and Gratitude
January 3, 2023
Dear Lobo Nation:
Happy New Year! I hope that you and your families had an enjoyable holiday season and that 2023 brings you health and happiness.
Now that the calendar has turned to 2023, I want to take a quick look back at an amazing 2022 for New Mexico Athletics and thank you for all that you do to support our student-athletes.
On December 28, I sat in awe along with 15,000 of you who entered The Pit to cheer on our newly minted nationally-ranked Lobos as they got a big conference win. The Pit magic was back because of you, your trust and most of all, because of your passion for the Lobos.
To say I’m grateful would be an understatement. When I arrived at UNM in the fall of 2017, I knew that we had work ahead of us. Returning Lobo Athletics to a place of prominence within the Mountain West, within the nation, and even more within our state, was going to take all of us.
Over the last five years, we have rebuilt our athletic department, and rebuilt the trust in Lobo Athletics. We have engaged with our Lobo community with honesty, transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility.
In the classroom, our Lobos continued to set the Standard of Excellence, with our student-athletes earning a GPA of 3.33 in the spring of 2022—a department top-5 mark—including 275 student-athletes earning a 3.0 or greater and 71 earning perfect 4.0 GPAs. For the tenth consecutive year, more than 100 of our student-athletes were honored as Mountain West Scholar-Athletes, the longest current streak in the league. Our incredible student-athletes also distinguished themselves by serving the community, assisting with food drives and shopping for the Lobo Food Pantry, a resource that any UNM student may receive free food and other necessary items. With generous help from our donors, our UNM Sports Properties team, and Albertsons, we took on the challenge to help our UNM students in times of need.
On the track, fields, and courts of competitions, our Lobos have won more Mountain West titles over the past four seasons (12) than any other Mountain West institution. It’s about setting a “Standard of Excellence” in everything we do, representing ourselves in a first-class manner and committing to the well-being and success of our student-athletes. Here are just some of our accomplishments in 2022: women’s cross country finished as NCAA runner-up, and won its 15th straight Mountain West title with Amelia Mazza-Downie becoming the second Lobo in school history to win back-to-back Mountain West individual championships; the Lobo women’s soccer team won its third consecutive Mountain West championship and continues to be one of the premier programs in the country; women’s basketball won a school-record-tying 26 games in 2021-2022, and the team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the WNIT; and our men’s basketball is off to a fast start, earning its first national ranking since 2014.
With so many things changing in college athletics, we will do our part to lead the way in creating and taking advantage of opportunities. To embrace the opportunities ahead, to support our student-athletes in the classroom and on the fields, our Lobo Club needs your continued support. Your generosity will allow us to open the doors this year to a brand new state of the art facility, the New Mexico Mutual Champions Training Center and your continued support though our LIFE program will focus on providing the tools and resources to prepare our student-athletes for life after athletics, student-athlete scholarships, and the individual needs of each Lobo team.
The ability of Lobo student-athletes to profit from their Name, Image and Likeness is another change in college athletics that continues to evolve. Soon, Lobo Athletics will announce a partnership with the 505 Sports Venture Foundation Collective that has done a great job supporting our student-athletes. Be on the lookout for this announcement in the near future!
As we head into 2023, know that all of us in Lobo Athletics are truly grateful for your support and while we are thrilled with our achievements and momentum, know that we aren’t satisfied.
Happy New Year and see you Saturday at The Pit!