Kill steps down, Sanchez named HC at NMSU

Kill steps down, Sanchez named HC at NMSU

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New Mexico State coach rips New Mexico AD over alleged retaliation (1:49)

Jerry Kill claims New Mexico AD Eddie Nunez attempted to deny New Mexico State access to practice facilities in retaliation for an incident earlier this year. (1:49)

  • Pete Thamel, ESPNDec 23, 2023, 05:31 PM ET

Two years into an unlikely resuscitation of New Mexico State‘s football program, coach Jerry Kill has stepped down as head coach of the Aggies, the school announced Saturday.

Kill made his decision in recent days, and the school wasted little time appointing his successor, naming wide receivers coach Tony Sanchez as the new head coach.

“This year has been tremendously difficult for me, and I gave it everything I had physically, mentally and emotionally,” Kill said in a statement. “New Mexico State holds a special place in my heart as it marks the end of my journey as a head coach. While I’ll remain involved with the Aggies, I recognize the need for a head coach with a lot of energy. Good luck to Coach Sanchez, the student-athletes and New Mexico State University.”

Kill led New Mexico State to one of the sport’s most distinct turnarounds in the past decade, as they went 17-11 in his two years as coach. That included back-to-back bowl appearances and a 10-5 record in 2023, the school’s first double-digit win season since 1960.

The Aggies’ team learned of Kill’s decision to step down on Saturday afternoon in a team meeting, sources told ESPN.

Kill is a veteran head coach with stops at Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois, among others. He also worked as an administrator and has been an assistant coach at Rutgers, Virginia Tech and TCU.

Sanchez is a former successful high school coach in the Las Vegas area who served as UNLV‘s head coach for five years from 2015 to 2019. Sanchez went 20-40 in that time, with his tenure remembered best for key off-field strides in facilities and support to help modernize the program.

He will be formally introduced as the Aggies’ new coach in the coming weeks, the school said.

New Mexico State had lost both offensive coordinator Tim Beck and defensive backs coach Cliff Odom since losing to Fresno State in the Isleta New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 16. The move to Sanchez could help keep continuity and momentum in both the staff and the program.

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