LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia has signed a new five-year contract to continue leading the Aggie Athletics program through the 2023-24 athletic season. His base salary will be $280,000 per year, with eligibility for a number of retention and performance incentives. A 1989 graduate, Moccia was named the university’s 23rd director of athletics in January of 2015.
“We’re extremely pleased to have Mario in charge of our athletics program,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “Mario has helped us secure extensions to important coaches’ contracts in both women’s and men’s sports, for which we are grateful. Also, during his time, our student athletes have had tremendous success on the field of play and in the classroom despite working with limited resources.”
The Aggies have continued to excel in the classroom since Moccia took the reins, with all athletics teams having surpassed an Academic Progress Rate of 930. Men’s basketball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis all garnered perfect single-year APR scores of 1,000 while the women’s tennis team tallied its sixth-consecutive perfect multi-year APR score. The Aggies also registered a 3.0 GPA or better for the 28-consecutive semester through the spring semester of 2019.
Moccia was captain of the Aggie baseball team and went on to play in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. He was then inducted into the US Bank/NM State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. He previously served for nine years as the Director of Athletics at Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., and eight years as the senior associate athletic director at the University of Missouri.
“Leading a Division I athletic program is very special, to do so at your alma mater is a big cherry on top,” said Moccia. “I am very appreciative of Chancellor Arvizu and President Floros of their support of me and our entire athletic program. While we have seen some tremendous accomplishments over the last four and a half years, I am convinced we have just scratched the surface of our potential. A big thanks to Aggie Nation for their support as well of me, our coaches, staff and most importantly our 400 student-athletes.”
Under Moccia’s direction, the Aggies have won 47 regular season and tournament championships through 2018-19, including three-consecutive Western Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Cups. The 2017-18 campaign is arguably the best athletic year in NM State history with the football team not only earning a bowl bid, but also bringing home the first bowl victory in 57 years when the Aggies defeated Utah State 26-20 in overtime to claim the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. In addition to football’s bowl championship, New Mexico State hauled in nine conference regular-season and tournament titles while sending women’s cross country, men’s basketball, men’s tennis, softball and baseball to NCAA postseason play.
Moccia led NM State into a multi-million dollar multimedia rights agreement with Learfield in 2015, a first for the Aggies. In 2016, a new exclusive five-year footwear and apparel contract with Under Armor more than doubled New Mexico State’s previous agreement. The Aggie Athletic Club has seen unprecedented growth in Moccia’s tenure from $168,000 in 2015 to $667,000 in 2019 with an all-time high membership of 1,102.
With Moccia at the helm, the Aggies have made several facility upgrades. Presley Askew Field installed a state-of-the-art synthetic grass infield. In addition, the baseball stadium saw renovations to its bullpens and batting cages as well as construction of a new press box. The swimming and diving team is enjoying the new Wanda Glass Swimming and Diving Locker Room as well as new coaches offices, while Aggie Memorial Stadium received a major upgrade with the addition of Club 27. The football team locker room was recently renovated thanks to the generous donation of the Allen Family.