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Former Assistant Long Hires Toledo to Help Him

Rocky Long, who left UCLA after the 1997 season to become New Mexico's coach, brings ex-boss to Albuquerque as offensive coordinator.

January 19, 2006|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

The three-year coaching hiatus of former UCLA football coach Bob Toledo ended Wednesday when he was introduced as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at New Mexico.

Toledo, 59, who had a 49-32 record at UCLA from 1996 to 2002, was hired by Lobo Coach Rocky Long, who worked under Toledo as defensive coordinator for the Bruins in 1996 and '97.

"I had opportunities to be a head coach and to be an assistant, actually some pro opportunities," Toledo said at a news conference in Albuquerque. "But I wanted to be somewhere where I really enjoyed being around the people."

Toledo said working for a former assistant won't be a problem.

"We're both here for the same reason: We want to win football games," said the coach who guided UCLA to a 20-game winning streak in 1997-98. "I've sat in that chair. I know who's the boss."

Toledo's salary was not disclosed, but Dan Dodd, whom he is replacing as offensive coordinator, made about $106,000 at New Mexico in 2005. Toledo is owed $153,000 annually from UCLA through 2008, and under terms of that contract the Bruins will be responsible for any difference between what New Mexico is paying and that figure.

New Mexico finished 6-5 and did not play in a bowl game last season after appearing in postseason games from 2002 to 2004. Long said the Lobos' lack of offensive productivity has been a problem.

In 2005, New Mexico had the nation's 86th-ranked passing offense at 197.4 yards a game (the Lobos were 114th of 117 Division I-A schools in 2004) and 40th-ranked scoring attack, averaging 29.6 points.

"We need a spark to get us to the next level," Long said. "I thought we underachieved some this year."

"I think Bob Toledo is ... one of the best play-callers in the game. To get a guy of his caliber gives you an automatic spark in your program."

Before he was head coach at UCLA, Toledo was the Bruins' offensive coordinator in 1994-95. Before that, he held the same job at Texas A&M from 1989 to '93 and at Oregon from 1983 to '88.

Toledo, who won two Pacific 10 Conference championships and left UCLA as the third-winningest coach in Bruin football history, said he plans to feature a multiple-formation attack that emphasizes the running game.

"If you can run the football, then you can make big plays with play-action passes," he said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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