Cal State Long Beach football Coach Mike Sheppard has resigned to take the same position at the University of New Mexico.
Despite repeated denials by UNM officials, Sheppard completed the deal Tuesday at a luncheon meeting in Albuquerque with Dr. Gerald May, the university president. He received a five-year deal worth $60,000 a year. It also includes a radio and television package.
After receiving Sheppard's resignation Tuesday night, Long Beach officials moved quickly to replace him, naming administrative assistant and running back coach Larry Reisbig to the post.
Sheppard replaces Joe Lee Dunn, who resigned to become the defensive coordinator at the University of South Carolina.
At a Wednesday morning press conference, May characterized Sheppard as "one of the most innovative coaches involved in college football today."
Sources in Albuquerque said officials are hoping Sheppard will be able to recruit more high school athletes to New Mexico from Southern California.
Sheppard, 34, was 16-18 in three seasons at Long Beach. In four seasons under Dunn, the Lobos were 17-30.
Long Beach has until Dec. 31 to raise $300,000 or lose its football program. That uncertainty weighed heavily in Sheppard's decision. He told the Albuquerque Journal that he hated to leave Long Beach, but that the situation left him no alternatives.
At New Mexico, Sheppard will be faced with a potentially hostile alumni group that lobbied heavily for the new coach to be a graduate of the school. But he also inherits a team that has 28 seniors returning.
In addition, Sheppard told the Associated Press that he hoped to recruit "some players" from the embattled 49er program.
Reisbig was previously head coach at Pasadena City College. Before that, he was also head coach at College of the Canyons.