LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – Ahead of Saturday’s battle of i-25 between New Mexico State and New Mexico, Lobos head coach Danny Gonzales fired offensive coordinator Derek Warehime and promoted Heath Ridenour into that spot.
Ridenour’s name is likely familiar to Borderland football fans. He was the head coach at Cleveland High School in Albuquerque until last winter; he won the last 3 Class 6A state championships with the Storm.
He was hired by Gonzales as New Mexico’s quarterbacks coach last offseason and just six games into his first season as a college coach, he’s been promoted to interim offensive coordinator.
Ridenour’s Cleveland teams were prolific offensively, averaging over 42 points per game over the last four years of his tenure at Cleveland. Now that he’s been promoted from coaching the quarterbacks to heading the entire offense, time will tell if it translates to the college ranks.
“We’re still preparing like the old coordinator was there, but giving different scenarios in practice. We’re just preparing for everything, we don’t want to say we’re going away from this game plan because the old O.C. got fired. You never know, so we’re preparing for everything,” said NM State senior linebacker Chris Ojoh.
After three straight losses, Gonzales was willing to try anything to get the offense going, including promoting a guy with no college coaching experience.
New Mexico State head coach Jerry Kill said he hasn’t watched any of Ridenour’s Cleveland film this week to prepare, but that he has in the past. The Aggies will be ready for some different looks, but they know that a midseason coordinator change isn’t always easy.
“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s 50/50 but coach wouldn’t have made the change if he didn’t think it would help. They have the same players, it’s all about players. What can they put in in three days? They might have it in but just haven’t used it,” Kill said.
The Aggies and Lobos will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday in Las Cruces. It’s the first time the rivalry has been played at Aggie Memorial Stadium since 2018.