March 23, 2012
Longtime coach and athletics administrator Rudy Davalos led an extraordinary career in athletics, one that ended in 2006 when he retired as director of athletics at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He was the first Hispanic athletics director in the Southwest Conference, Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference, serving as AD at both Houston and Texas San Antonio (UTSA), as well. Davalos initiated the UTSA department into NCAA Division I and was the first Hispanic to serve on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee.
Prior to his athletics director stints, Davalos enjoyed a successful coaching career. After three assistant coaching stops, he was named the head men’s basketball coach at the University of the South, where he led the Tigers to its best single-season record in program history with a 23-4 mark in 1972-73. He would move on to become an assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs until he moved on to become the AD at UTSA.
At UNM, Davalos led the Lobo athletics department to many significant accomplishments during his 14-year tenure. UNM teams made NCAA postseason play 112 times, won or shared 35 regular season or postseason conference championships, and the ski team won the 2004 NCAA Championship, becoming the first Lobo program to win a national title. Thanks to efforts from Davalos, UNM’s fundraising organization, the Lobo Club, produced $6 million annually, which was a factor in Davalos increasing the department’s budget from $9.4 million to $22 million, while never finishing a fiscal year over budget during his tenure. Sports Illustrated named Davalos as one of the top 101 minorities in sports.