ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico State has formally introduced a new head football coach, Jerry Kill. The former Minnesota head coach and most recently TCU interim coach hasn’t led a program since stepping down from the Gophers in 2015 citing health reasons.

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Kill worked under current NMSU Athletic Director Mario Moccia as the head coach at Southern Illinois from 2001 to 2007. Kill states that despite health reasons, he still wants to coach and believes he can build a successful program in Las Cruces. Kill has an overall 154-101 record as a college coach. He replaces Doug Martin who did not have his contract renewed. Martin started at NMSU in 2013 and produced a 25-74 record.

The Aggies are set to face the Lobos on Tuesday night, and it appears that NMSU will be without its head coach, Chris Jans, due to COVID-19 protocol. While Lobos head coach Richard Pitino has plenty of experience facing hostile environments in big rivalry games, that’s not the case for his young and inexperienced players who saw their biggest opposing crowd this season on a road trip at Colorado. “It’s amazing how many guys in our locker room has not played true road games, in front of fans, if you think about it,” said Pitino. “Jamal Mashburn never played on the road in front of fans besides Colorado. Gethro has never played on the road in front of fans. We just got a lot of inexperienced guys. We just got to be physically ready to compete. We were not against Towson. That’s why we lost.”

The Lobos come into the game against the aggies following a pair of road losses in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, high school basketball is set to be in full swing in the metro area Tuesday night as the 2021-2022 season gets going. The La Cueva Bears will be one of those teams with a new man leading the team. Head Coach Brian Joyce is a former La Cueva standout and is in his first full season with the team. Joyce is learning more about his player this time around because when he first came back COVID was still causing major restrictions. 

“You’re trying to build culture online,” says Joyce. “You’re trying to build culture with short-term schedules, in terms of practice. You can’t contact people. You can’t play defense. There was a lot of things that we weren’t able to work on last year.”

The Bears will open the season against the 2019 champion Atrisco Heritage Academy Jaguars.