ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – University of New Mexico Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham will take the field for the final time on Saturday against San Diego State, as the longtime coach enters retirement at the end of the 2021 season.
“You know, it’s going to be emotional because baseball and New Mexico have been a passion for me for 43 years,” said Birmingham. He has coached in New Mexico since the late 1970s, and in that time, he has racked up over 1,200 collegiate victories and won 22 total championships.
Birmingham also influenced many lives, which will make Saturday a special day for not just him. “Bittersweet, honestly just because it’s a long career for him to have and everything that he has taken and everything that he has contributed really. Me being a local guy, I definitely feel happy that I am able to be a part of those last few games, sending him off the right way,” said UNM Baseball pitcher and senior, Nathaniel Garley.
Birmingham has spent the last 14 seasons as UNM’s head coach. He won four Mountain West Titles, Mountain West Coach of The Year, and took the Lobos to the NCAA Regional five times. While this year hasn’t gone the way he or his team would have wanted, Birmingham feels that he leaves his post happy and proud of what he did for the state of New Mexico.
“Well, I think I did, I think I gave them all that I have, and I think I made them proud, and I think I did a lot of positives,” said Birmingham.
Birmingham plans on staying close to the program after his retirement. He will take on the role of a fundraiser and continue to help build up the Lobos stadium.
UNM will host San Diego State on Friday in a doubleheader starting at 1 pm and will close out their season against the Aztecs on Saturday at noon.