NMSU football coach resigns, takes Jaguars job


NMSU football coach resigns, takes Jaguars job

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) New Mexico State football coach DeWayne Walker has stepped down after four losing seasons to take a job as an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Athletic director McKinley Boston announced Thursday that Walker is leaving to become defensive backs coach for the NFL team. Walker went 10-40 with the Aggies, and was coming off a 1-11 season.

``It was a great opportunity for his family. I hope it all works out for him,'' Boston said.

Offensive coordinator Doug Martin took over as interim coach.

``Unfortunately, I did not get the program as far as I would have liked from a wins and losses standpoint,'' Walker said in a statement. ``But, we do have a better locker room, better kids and a better foundation for the program moving forward.''

Martin was Kent State's head coach from 2004-10.

``Obviously, N.M. State is a place I firmly believe in and that's the reason why I came back,'' Martin said. ``I feel there is unlimited potential for this football program and for Las Cruces as a city to take ownership of this team.

New Mexico State hasn't announced plans on its search for a new coach, but the departure of Walker does not come at a good time. Just two weeks before national signing day, when high school prospects decided where they will attend school, Martin and the Aggies' staff will be scrambling to keep the recruits who were interested in coming to New Mexico State on board.

The timing, along with the programs uncertain future as an independent, could also make it difficult to find top-notch candidates. The Aggies were forced to play as an FBS independent next season because defections made Western Athletic Conference give up trying to field a football league in 2013.

On top of that, New Mexico State has traditionally struggled to field a winning team. The Aggies have not appeared in a bowl game since 1960.

Walker was hired in December 2008 to replace Hal Mumme after serving as defensive coordinator at UCLA for three years. Walker has NFL jobs on his resume. Before his time at UCLA, he was an assistant with the Washington Redskins and New York Giants from 2002-05.

Walker never won more than four games in a season with New Mexico State.

In 2009, Walker was arrested for suspected drunken driving but the charge was dismissed after authorities said his breath-alcohol level was well below the state's legal limit for presumed intoxication.

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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

With a march on Washington planned for this weekend following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were invited by the Wizards to attend their Friday morning practice at Capital One Arena.

About 20 of the kids showed up to watch the Wizards practice, took pictures with players, got a tour of the facilities and walked away with Wizards hats and gear. It was a small break away from what has been a tumultous time ever since the massacre at their school on Feb. 14.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis was on hand to speak with the students, who are set to lead the 'March For Our Lives' through downtown Washington on Saturday.


Wizards guard Bradley Beal met with the media after taking photos with the students.

"For us to be able to take their mind off of it for just a few minutes is always a great feeling," Beal said. "At the end of the day, we're all human beings regardless of our careers are and what our jobs are. A lot of us have families, kids, brothers and sisters. The last thing that you want to happen is what happened to several of those families. You can never imagine."

Beal went to college in Florida and has participated in his own forms of activism. He has found inspiration in the efforts by Stoneman Douglas students. They have taken what happened to their school as a catalyst for what they hope produces change in the ability to protect similar attacks from happening again.


Beal, 24, finds that admirable.

"It's amazing sometimes to learn from the youth on how to do things," Beal said. "It's a testament to where our world needs to lead to, to where we need to get to and to come together as a society. It starts with us as the younger generation. We've gotta come together with love and do things like this. I think what they're doing is awesome. It's spreading positive vibes and it's true humanitarian work that they're doing."

The Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend Friday night's Wizards-Nuggets game as well.

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Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster.

Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards.

The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


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For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast: