UNM Athletic Director Krebs announces retirement amid investigation

UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs
UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Paul Krebs, the Vice President and Director of Athletics at the University of New Mexico, has announced he is retiring.

Krebs was recently the subject of a Larry Barker investigation which uncovered that the Athletic Department used public money to pick up the tab for university executives and private citizens to attend a golf trip in Scotland. Now, state officials are also looking into the trip.

In a radio interview Friday morning, Krebs said he’s been talking with the university about retiring for about a year. He said the decision to finally do it comes from exhaustion of the role, as well as recent events, alluding to the investigation launched.

“I think, given all that’s happened, it’s just become too much of a distraction for UNM and it’s in my best interest and the university’s best interest,” he said. “I certainly don’t want to stand in the way of what we’ve accomplished here and what we have yet to accomplish as a university and an athletic program.”

Krebs said, however, that he has no regrets about the Scotland golf trip but that he would have done it differently if he had a do-over opportunity.

“As it is related to the auditor, I have nothing to hide. I welcome the audit, I’m not running from anything,” he said.

Krebs also told the radio host he’s confident in the way he’s run the department over the past 11 years.

Frank Mercogliano of the UNM Athletic Department says there’s mixed emotions about the announcement. While they consider Krebs a loss, Mercogliano says the retirement is not entirely unexpected. He, too, knew that Krebs has been considering retirement for the last year.

Coaches at UNM agree the controversy surrounding the golfing trip brought negative attention to UNM. It also started to affect morale among coaches, and some say it was starting to hurt their recruiting efforts.

Football Coach Bob Davie released a statement saying, “I will always appreciate Paul Krebs giving me the opportunity to be the head coach at UNM.”

“We got a note from him this morning and it was about what is happening, the distractions, and I agree with that. I think things have become very difficult right now,” said Volleyball Coach Jeff Nelson, who was Kreb’s first UNM hire.

“I think it’s a sad day for Lobo Athletics. I think Paul did a heck of a job for 11 years and he was a very good friend of mine when I was at Highlands. He was a good mentor to me,” said Ed Mazanares, UNM Associate Athletic Director.

Under Krebs’ tenure, Lobo Athletics pulled in 57 Mountain West titles and seven other championships outside of the conference.

The university says they will hire an interim athletic director before conducting a nationwide search for Krebs’s replacement.

His retirement will be effective June 30, 2017, ending his 11-year tenure with the Lobos.

Below is the requested approval to retire letter from Krebs to acting UNM President Chaouki Abdallah.

Dear President Abdallah:

I am writing to request your approval to retire from the University of New Mexico effective June 30, 2017. My intent is to utilize a portion of my leave for the remainder  of this month.

As you know, I have been planning to retire for some time but delayed  my departure at your request to help ensure a smooth Athletic Department leadership transition; however, I believe my retirement at this time is in my  best interest and the University’s.

It has been my honor to serve the University for more than 11 years. I have had the privilege of working with great coaches and staff during my ten ure. Even more important, I am proud of our student-athletes- their character, how they have performed in the classroom, and how they have represented our University on the playing field and in the community. The list of accomplishments achieved by our Athletic Department is indeed impressive:

  • 57 Mountain  West Conference Championships
  • 34 Mountain West Conference Championships in a four-yea r period, the best run in both UNM and Mountain  West Conference history
  • I Team NCAA National  Championship
  • 12 Individ ual NCAA National Champions
  • 82 conference “of-the-year” student-athletes (player, newcomer, freshman, and individual  sports)
  • 43  Academic All-Americans
  • 3.00 or better average GPA for Lobo student-athletes in the last 17 semesters and in 27 of the last  28 semesters
  • Highest student-athlete graduation rates in the history of the University, consistently  higher than overall student body rates
  • On average, over 6,000 hours of community service performed annually by  our student-athletes
  • Over $85 million in facility construction and renovation projects including construction  of an indoor  practice facility; renovations  to the Pit; creation of a new  Student-Athlete Success  Center;  renovations  to  the Track, Soccer,  and Softball facilities; construction  of the McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium; construction  of the Golf Practice Facility; construction

of the R. D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Baseball Clubhouse; improvements to Santa Ana Star Baseball  Field; renovations  to the Football weight room; renovations to the U.S. Bank Football Club; and upgrades to Branch Field and University Stadium

  • Recently secured the largest naming gift in the history ofUNM Athletics for Dreamstyle  Arena and Dreamstyle Stadium.

During the first 10 years of my administration we averaged $9.8 million a year in funds raised through the Foundation, for a total of $98 million.  What that means is this:

  • We averaged $26,850 per day in funds raised, every day, 365 days a year-for 10 years.
  • We averaged $187,945 per week in funds raised, every week, 52 weeks a year-for 10 years.

The current year’s fundraising totals will be even higher-exceeding $13 million for the year.

My team in Athletics is justifiably proud of these incredible numbers and what they mean to the University,  Athletics, our coaches,  and most important, our student-athletes.

I love this University and its athletic programs.  I appreciate the support of the leadership of the University; we have had a strong personal and professional working relationship over these  last 11 years.

My work at the University has been dedicated to making things better for UNM Athletics and UNM student-athletes, and just as important, to protecting the integrity of the University and its relationships with donors and supporters of our athletic program.

Together we have built an athletic program that is known for winning championships, having outstanding facilities and supportive fans, and most important, graduating student­ athletes at record levels.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve a great University. Go Lobos!

In response to Krebs’ retirement announcement, State Auditor Tim Keller said, “Not totally surprised, of course, we always like to finish our work first so we know exactly what’s going on and that’s why we’re going to continue our audit.”

Keller said since the investigation in Krebs began, more whistle blowers have come forward along with more complaints on the way the athletic department handled public money.

Attorney General Hector Balderas, who is also involved in the investigation into Krebs, issued the following statement Friday:

“While I am pleased that Mr. Krebs resigned from UNM Athletics, our investigation of this matter is ongoing. Even if a public official leaves office, they can still face legal consequences for actions they took while in office.”

Keller said he hopes to have the investigation wrapped up by early Fall.

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