Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
January 8, 2020 (San Diego) - Rocky Long, the all-time winningest coach in the Mountain West and second-winningest coach in San Diego State history, announced today that he is retiring as the head football coach at SDSU.
Long, who guided the Aztecs to an 81-38 record (.681) in nine seasons, led San Diego State to three Mountain West titles and a bowl appearance in all nine years on The Mesa.
Combined with his previous head coaching job at New Mexico from 1998-08, Long is 146-107 (.577) over his career. His 143 victories in the MW (Long’s first three wins came while the Lobos were in the Western Athletic Conference) are 45 more than the No. 2 in the league. Long has been named the MW Coach of the Year three times over his career (2002 while at New Mexico, and 2012 and 2015 at SDSU).
Long, who spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator with the Aztecs from 2009-10 prior to being named head coach, was one of just four active coaches to lead their current team to a bowl game in each of the last nine seasons, joining Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, and one of five overall to lead a team to a bowl game from 2011-19 (also James Franklin, Vanderbilt/Penn State).
Since Long took over as the defensive coordinator in 2009, San Diego State ranks 11th in rush defense (129.6) and interceptions (163), 14th in total defense (340.4), 20th in scoring defense (22.2), 22nd in turnovers caused (255) and 26th in defensive pass efficiency (122.0).
This past season, the Aztecs finished 10-3, capped by a 48-11 win over Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl. SDSU, which lost its three games by a combined 13 points, is one of 10 schools to win at least 10 games in four of the last five seasons.
In 2012, Long garnered his second Mountain West Coach of the Year award after guiding the Aztecs to their first conference championship since 1998 and a third straight bowl appearance. Despite a modest fifth-place prediction in the MW preseason poll, Long and SDSU closed out the regular season by winning seven consecutive games, matching the program’s longest victory streak since 1980-81. During that stretch, the Aztecs ranked fifth in the nation in allowing 4.7 yards per play while limiting the opposition to 19 points or less on five occasions.
After opening the season with a 1-3 mark in 2015, SDSU ran the gamut with 10 straight wins and a spot-free 8-0 mark against MW opponents. Consequently, San Diego State earned its second Mountain West title since 2012, its first outright league championship since 1969 and the 20th conference crown in program history. The Aztecs matched a school record with their first 11-win campaign since 1969, defeating Cincinnati in the Hawai’i Bowl, 42-7, marking their sixth straight bowl game appearance.
Long’s Aztecs didn’t slow down in 2016. SDSU again tied the school record with another 11-win season, the fourth in school history. It was the first time in the program’s 94-year history San Diego State produced back-to-back 11-win campaigns. Behind a convincing 34-10 Las Vegas Bowl win over Houston on national television, the Aztecs won consecutive bowl games for the first time in the Division I era and the first time since 1966 and 1967. Additionally, SDSU finished ranked No. 25 in the AP and Amway Coaches Poll. It was the first time the Aztecs finished in the Top 25 in the Coaches Poll for the first time since also being ranked 25th in 1986.
Prior to assuming head coaching duties at New Mexico in 1998, Long had coaching stints at UCLA (1996-97), Oregon State (1991-95), TCU (1988-90), CFL’s British Columbia Lions (1986-87), Wyoming (1981-85) and New Mexico (1972-73, 1978-80).
Brady Hoke, who led the San Diego State football team to its first bowl game in 12 seasons in his first stint on The Mesa from 2009-10 and has twice been chosen as national coach of the year, has been named the program’s head coach, Aztec director of athletics John David Wicker announced Wednesday.
Hoke brings 35 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, including 12 seasons as a FBS head coach at Michigan (2011-14), San Diego State (2009-10) and Ball State (2003-08).
Hoke, who has received conference Coach of the Year accolades in three different leagues, returned to SDSU in 2019 as the defensive line coach, helping the Aztecs rank second in FBS in rush defense (75.4), third in scoring defense (12.7), and sixth in both total defense (287.8) and pass efficiency defense (110.25). Under Hoke’s watch, San Diego State had two players (senior Myles Cheatum and redshirt freshman Cameron Thomas) earn first-team all-league honors for the first time since 1974 and three overall make the all-league squad, while another (sophomore Keshawn Banks) received second-team honors.
Despite losing four seniors from the defensive line prior to his arrival and entering the season with just one player with a start at the position (Cheatum), SDSU defensive linemen combined for 37 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in 2019 after recording just 23.5 TFL and nine sacks in 2018.
In his first stint as head coac of the Aztecs, Hoke took over a program that was 9-27 in its previous three seasons (2006-08) and went 13-12 in his two years at San Diego State from 2009-10. In 2010, SDSU finished with a 9-4 record, defeating Navy, 35-14, in the Poinsettia Bowl. It was the Aztecs’ first bowl game since 1998 and started a stretch of 10 straight bowl games for San Diego State (2010-current), which is tied for the 11th-longest active streak in the country. As a result, Hoke was named the 2010 Mountain West Coach of the Year.
Following his time at SDSU, Hoke served as the head coach at Michigan from 2011-14, leading the Wolverines to a 31-20 record. Hoke, who became Michigan’s first head coach to go undefeated at home in his first two seasons since 1901-02, directed the Wolverines to an 11-2 record and a victory in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in his first year in 2011. For his efforts, Hoke was named the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year and the George Munger Award Coach of the Year, and was a finalist for three other Coach of the Year honors. Additionally, Hoke was chosen as the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year by both the media and head coaches.
Hoke earned his first head coaching job at his alma mater, Ball State, where he coached for six years, culminating with a 12-1 campaign in 2008 and an undefeated mark in Mid-American Conference play. That season, he led the Cardinals to their first-ever Associated Press top 25 ranking and he was named the 2008 MAC Coach of the Year.
Prior to rejoining the Aztecs in 2019, Hoke served stints with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers (defensive line in 2018), and Power 5 programs Tennessee (defensive line in 2017, interim head coach for two games) and Oregon (defensive coordinator in 2016).
Hoke was also Michigan’s defensive line coach from 1995-02 and was a part of three Big Ten champion teams (1997, 1998, 2000), including the 1997 national champion and Rose Bowl-winning squad, before his promotion to associate head coach in 2002.
In addition, Hoke had collegiate stints at Oregon State (1989-94), Toledo (1987-88), Western Michigan (1984-86) and Grand Valley State (1983). He began his coaching career as an assistant at Yorktown (Ind.) High School in 1981.
As a student-athlete, Hoke was a defensive standout for Ball State, lettering four times from 1977-80 and serving as team captain his senior season. As a sophomore, he ranked third on the team in tackles and helped the Cardinals to the 1978 MAC championship with an 8-0 record, the only other time Ball State finished a league campaign undefeated prior to 2008. He posted 95 tackles as a junior and a team-high 150 stops as a senior en route to earning second-team all-MAC honors. Hoke earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Ball State in 1982.