LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — Doug Martin is out as the head football coach at New Mexico State. Director of Athletics, Mario Moccia, announcing after NMSU’s season finale win against UMass on Saturday that Martin’s expiring contract will not be renewed.

The move comes as no surprise as Martin has said on numerous occasions — throughout the season — there have not been active negotiations to bring him back next year. In nine seasons as the head coach, NMSU went 25-74 under Martin. He did, however, lead the Aggies to their first bowl win in nearly 60 years when NMSU beat Utah State in the Arizona Bowl in 2017.

“As everyone is aware, it’s the final year of Coach Martin’s contract. When it expires, it will not be renewed,” said Moccia. “I certainly want to take the opportunity to publicly thank Doug {Martin] for everything he has done for the program. He inherited a lot of challenges from social conduct, to APR issues, and he more than improved those items.”

Martin declined all media availability this week, and when it came time to say farewell to his group of seniors on ‘Senior Day’ at Aggie Memorial Stadium, Martin did not participate and drew criticism on social media from some of his former players.

Shamad Lomax, former NMSU defensive back, on Doug Martin skipping ‘Senior Day.’

“He {Martin] has talked to them [seniors] individually before the game. I’m not going to criticize who was here or who was there,” said Moccia. “At the end of the day, I’m pretty confident that the players know that Coach Martin cares about them. As far the gameday pageantry and things like that go — what I want, what people think is the right thing [to do] — that’s in the eye of the beholder.”

Moccia and the Aggie athletic department now turn their attention to finding a new head coach to replace Martin. With the early signing period coming up, Moccia would like to hire a coach as soon as possible, preferably one with experience as a head coach.

“This is a very difficult job. History tells us that we’ve had five .500 or better seasons in 50 years. That’s a fact,” said Moccia. “You are looking for someone who can win consistently. I think when you’re looking for someone like that, the qualities that you would look for is who has done it before.”

According to a report by College Football Scoop, Moccia already has a top target to replace Martin. Jerry Kill, who is currently the interim head coach at TCU, is reportedly his top choice. The two have a history together at Southern Illinois where Moccia was the athletic director and Kill was his head football coach.

Kill has not been a full-time head coach since 2015. Epileptic seizures caused him to step down as Minnesota’s head coach. He took on an associate athletic director role at Kansas State in 2016, served as Rutgers’ offensive coordinator for part of the 2017 season before epileptic seizures forced him to step away from that job as well. Kill served as a special assistant to the head coach at Virginia Tech in 2019, then took the same job in 2020 at TCU. He has served as TCU’s interim head coach ever since Gary Patterson stepped down earlier this month.

“I’ve certainly worked directly with him [Kill],” said Moccia. “Southern Illinois is a unique community where you know a lot of the boosters, donors and supporters. I’ve certainly kept in touch with him and his staff throughout the years.”

Kill is 153-99 as a Division I head coach and took Minnesota to three bowl games in five years. According to the report, Kill is expected to bring on Tim Beck as his offensive coordinator. Beck is currently an offensive analyst with Kill at TCU.

It will be the first head football coach Moccia hires at NMSU. Widely considered one of the top mid-major athletic directors who does more with less, Moccia has a proven track record of hiring quality head coaches. With the program set to transition from an FBS Independent to Conference USA in 2023, Aggie fans everywhere are hoping Moccia can get this one right as well.