[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen Brady Hoke left San Diego State to take the Michigan job two years ago, he offered his defensive coordinator Rocky Long the chance to join him.
Long passed on the opportunity to work at a perennial power because he didn’t think it was fair for the Aztec players to go through another coaching change.
San Diego State hired Long as head coach, and so far, the decision has proven to be the right one. Today, school officials announced that Long has signed a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2017 season.
Following an 8-5 finish in 2011, Long guided the Aztecs to a 9-4 finish last season and a share of the Mountain West Conference championship – the school’s first conference title since it won the WAC in 1986. San Diego State was predicted to finish fifth in the conference in the preseason, and Long earned MWC Coach of the Year honors.
Through two seasons at SDSU, Long’s 17-9 record (.654) is the third-best mark in school history, trailing only legendary head coach Don Coryell (.840 from 1961-72) and Claude Gilbert (.697 from 1973-80).
In coaching circle’s, Long’s reputation is impeccable. A former defensive coordinator at UCLA and Oregon State, Long served as head coach of his alma mater New Mexico from 1998-2008, winning a school record 65 games and leading the Lobos to five bowl games in his last seven seasons. To put that accomplishment in perspective, since 1984 UNM is 60-151 (.284) with only three six-plus win seasons in 18 campaigns without Long at the helm.
“I am very excited about the future of Aztec football under Rocky Long’s leadership,” SDSU athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement. “Coach Long has continued the growth and the success in all aspects of our program, while gaining more regional and national interest. I look forward to next season as we look to defend our Mountain West title.”