ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Ray Birmingham knows a winner when he sees one. The University of New Mexico baseball coach has won seven Mountain West Championships and has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament five times since arriving on the scene in 2008.
Birmingham felt like he had a winner in the works when the season was cut short due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Birmingham and his Lobos were on the road when they got the news that the National Collegiate Athletic Association had canceled spring sports for the rest of the season.
At 14-4 the Lobos were feeling good about their team and then the coach dropped the news.
“You could have heard a pin drop,” said Birmingham. “Everybody just stared, glazed in shock.”
To make up for the lost season, the NCAA gave seniors eligibility relief another season to finish the one that was taken away. That might not be so easy to do with an incoming freshman class coming in and it is all about finances.
“Would love to have them back, but at the same time we are going to continue to do things the way we planned and if you want to come and participate with this you’re welcome,” said Birmingham. “People say give them a scholarship back and all of that. You can’t. The University of New Mexico doesn’t have the money.”
Birmingham said he is happy to help seniors get a spot in the pros. If they cannot. “If they don’t then let’s do what we intended to do, to begin with, get you a degree and get you employed,” said Birmingham.
Meanwhile, after 20 years Tom Brady is leaving the New England Patriots and entering free agency. Sources are already reporting that Brady will land with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While at New England Brady helped the Patriots win six Super Bowls.