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Danny Gonzales leaves ASU to become New Mexico head coach

Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Sun Devil Stadium on October 18, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. Stanford won 20-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

One of the architects of the Herm Edwards era at Arizona State is leaving the program.

Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales has accepted a head-coaching position at New Mexico and was formally introduced during a Lobos basketball game against Grand Canyon on Tuesday.

According to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro, Gonzales was officially interviewed yesterday and accepted the position Tuesday. Gambadoro said the deal is for five years.

New Mexico is expected to announce the hire at halftime during Tuesday’s men’s basketball game against Grand Canyon University.

The move follows a 7-5 season in which the Sun Devils were selected to play in the Sun Bowl against Florida State. Gonzales, who joined the Sun Devils coaching staff in 2018, was also named as the team’s assistant head coach after his first year.

There were multiple schools inquiring with the Sun Devils and Gonzales as to his availability, asking if they can speak with him about potential head coach openings. Those schools included Colorado State, the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the University of Texas-San Antonio, Gambadoro reported.

“It’s always nice to be wanted,” Gonzales said. “The best thing about the whole deal is the way Coach Edwards and [ASU], they have been super supportive. And that’s not everywhere. There’s a lot of people that you work for that don’t like it.”

Gonzales said Tuesday that he wasn’t interested in becoming a defensive coordinator elsewhere in the Power 5.

“The ability to win is what drives me in this business,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve said it a hundred times. I hate losing more than I enjoy winning. … And so in order for me to take a job, you have to have the ability to win.”

Gonzales is now returning to his alma mater, where he attended from 1994-1998. He served as a graduate assistant from 1999 to 2002 and also served as the Lobos’ video coordinator from 2003 to 2005 before being promoted to a full-time assistant. Gonzales coached the team’s safeties, kickers, punters and long snappers from 2006 to 2008.

He also coached at San Diego State, working with safeties for six seasons before becoming the defensive coordinator ahead of the 2017 season.

ASU football is now out of its 2019 offensive and defensive coordinators. Edwards told reporters Dec. 1 that Rob Likens would not be retained as OC next season.

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