ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former La Cueva standout and UNM linebacker is now a head football coach in the SEC. Multiple reports on Wednesday say that Mississippi State has named the team’s defensive coordinator, Zach Arnett, as the Bulldogs’ new lead man.

The promotion of Arnett from defensive coordinator to head coach comes following the death of coach Mike Leach, who died earlier this week due to a heart condition. Arnett was previously named the team’s interim head coach prior to receiving the full-time job.


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After a successful career as a multi-sport athlete at La Cueva, Arnett played linebacker for the Lobos from 2005-2008, where he forced six fumbles and was named a first-team Academic All-American. Following his playing career, he followed UNM head coach Rocky Long to SDSU where he began coaching.

Arnett joined the Aztecs as a graduate assistant in 2011 and worked his way up to defensive coordinator in 2018. In 2020, Arnett left San Diego state to join Mike Leach’s staff at Mississippi State.