ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.>> Mike Locksley, whose three years as head football coach at New Mexico have been mostly marked by losses and off-field problems, was fired Sunday.
Athletic director Paul Krebs announced Locksley’s dismissal in a statement and said associate head coach and defensive coordinator George Barlow will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the season.
Krebs said he will hold a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss the coaching change.
The Lobos are 0-4 this season. They were 2-26 under Locksley, including consecutive 1-11 seasons the past two years, and he appeared to be on the verge of being fired last December. However, a buyout reportedly would have cost the university almost $1.5 million.
New Mexico lost 48-45 in overtime Saturday to Sam Houston State before an announced crowd of 16,313 at University Stadium in Albuquerque. It was the Lobos’ smallest home crowd in almost 19 years.
Before the game, Albuquerque police arrested a man claiming to be a New Mexico football recruit on suspicion of driving while intoxicated near the stadium.
A school official said Joshua Butts, 19, borrowed a vehicle from Locksley’s son, who’s a walk-on player for the Lobos.
The SUV is registered to Meiko Locksley and Mike Locksley’s wife, Kia, according to athletic department spokesman Frank Mercogliano.
Police said Butts claimed he was brought from Chicago to play football for the Lobos. Mercogliano said Butts isn’t a recruit and isn’t on the team.
Butts is facing charges of aggravated DWI, being a minor in possession of alcohol, reckless driving and driving without a license, police said.
Locksley was hired in December 2008 after four seasons as Illinois’ offensive coordinator. He replaced Rocky Long, who resigned after reaching five bowl games in 11 seasons with New Mexico.
He inherited scholarship and recruiting restrictions imposed after NCAA investigators found two assistants under Long broke rules in an academic fraud scandal. Long was never accused of wrongdoing.
Locksley was able to offer only 20 scholarships instead of the usual 25 for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
He made news early in his New Mexico tenure because of a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former administrative assistant and an altercation with a former assistant coach, leading Krebs to order a 10-day suspension for Locksley.
Before game against Texas Christian University last November, Locksley suspended three players who had been involved in a bar fight.