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Kill fires off on UNM A.D.


At the conclusion of the 2023 Isleta New Mexico Bowl, Aggie football head coach Jerry Kill had choice words for University of New Mexico Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez, alleging that Nuñez didn’t want to allow NMSU the use of the Lobos’ indoor practice facilities during the week of the bowl game preparations, and even calling for him to be disciplined.

The Aggies suffered a 37-10 loss to Fresno State Saturday evening, Dec. 16, at the 2023 Isleta New Mexico Bowl. Nevertheless, NMSU produced success this season despite losing its last two games of the year. The Aggies got their first win against a Southeastern Conference team, beating Auburn 31-10 — also, playing in a Conference USA championship game in just their first year of joining the conference. 

Kill claimed the snub over practice facilities was retaliation for an incident involving NMSU quarterback Diego Pavia this past summer. The incident was caught on video as Pavia urinated on UNM’s logo on the turf of the indoor practice facility. KOB-TV news in Albuquerque later released the video following NMSU’s 27-17 victory over UNM in Duke City on Sept. 16. 

Coach Kill said he was unaware of the situation before the conclusion of the rivalry game. He said he disciplined his starting quarterback once the video surfaced and it came to his knowledge. 

“I did my part; I disciplined the young man.” Kill said. “He doesn’t get to do interviews and stuff like that. You know, if you want to take a toothbrush and clean toilets all the time, that ain’t a lot of fun — and do community service.” 

Kill explained that the New Mexico Bowl did treat them well but later complained that someone had to push for the Aggies to use the indoor practice facility. Kill later told ESPN that New Mexico Bowl Executive Director Jeff Siembieda was the one responsible for allowing them to use the practice field. 

“He (Siembieda) had to fight his ass off to get us to be able to practice in an indoor,” Kill said, and then aimed criticism at Nuñez: “I hope the A.D. here gets the same damn discipline with the people around this state that Diego got, because he deserves it. When he don’t want to let us practice in the indoor facility, when he don’t want us to do this, do that, that’s chickenshit.”

The UNM A.D. denied obstructing the Aggies’ access to the indoor fields. The University of New Mexico Athletics referred to a statement released by the New Mexico Bowl that stated, “The Isleta New Mexico Bowl works with both participating institutions to ensure equal access to training and practice facilities. The University of New Mexico has been gracious hosts of this game for the past 18 years and this year’s game was no exception. Understanding the nature of the both in-state and in-conference rivalries there is always a sense of ensuring that all parties respect each other’s property, which in this case was upheld by both institutions.” 

UNM Athletics also said Nuñez is not the one who makes decisions on where the participating teams practice; the NM Bowl is responsible for that. 

Subsequently, the Albuquerque Journal reported Kill and Nuñez spoke amicably by phone on Monday although neither university has offered a readout of what was discussed or any statement, effectively moving on from the tiff.

With the season’s end and 10 wins to show off, the focus of NM State Football now turns to keeping coach Kill at the helm.

Algernon D’Ammassa contributed to this report.