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New Mexico fires coach Locksley

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)

Mike Locksley, whose three years as head football coach at New Mexico have been mostly marked by losses and off-field problems, was fired Sunday.

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Athletic director Paul Krebs announced Locksley's dismissal in a statement and said associate head coach and defensive coordinator George Barlow will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Krebs says the football team's bad record, a lack of fan support, and off-the-field events led to Locksley's firing.

Krebs said at a news conference Monday that he told Locksley on Sunday about his decision because he didn't ''see any good ending to this story.''

The firing comes after a rocky tenure by Locksley, who faced a sexual harassment suit, a suspension after he punched another coach, and most recently, criticism after police arrested a man on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in an SUV registered to Locksley's wife.

The Lobos are 0-4 this season. They were 2-26 under Locksley.

Krebs said Locksley will be paid for this season and $150,000 a year for the next two years.

New Mexico lost 48-45 in overtime Saturday to Sam Houston State before an announced crowd of 16,313 at University Stadium in Albuquerque. It was the Lobos' smallest home crowd in almost 19 years.

Before the game, Albuquerque police arrested a man claiming to be a New Mexico football recruit on suspicion of driving while intoxicated near the stadium.

A school official said Joshua Butts, 19, borrowed a vehicle from Locksley's son, who's a walk-on player for the Lobos.

The SUV is registered to Meiko Locksley and Mike Locksley's wife, Kia, according to athletic department spokesman Frank Mercogliano.

Police said Butts claimed he was brought from Chicago to play football for the Lobos. Mercogliano said Butts isn't a recruit and isn't on the team.

Butts is facing charges of aggravated DWI, being a minor in possession of alcohol, reckless driving and driving without a license, police said.

Locksley was hired in December 2008 after four seasons as Illinois' offensive coordinator. He replaced Rocky Long, who resigned after reaching five bowl games in 11 seasons with New Mexico.

He inherited scholarship and recruiting restrictions imposed after NCAA investigators found two assistants under Long broke rules in an academic fraud scandal. Long was never accused of wrongdoing.

Locksley was able to offer only 20 scholarships instead of the usual 25 for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

He made news early in his New Mexico tenure because of a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former administrative assistant and an altercation with a former assistant coach, leading Krebs to order a 10-day suspension for Locksley.

Before game against Texas Christian University last November, Locksley suspended three players who had been involved in a bar fight.

In September 2010, Locksley and a student reporter got into a verbal exchange at an Albuquerque bar.

Earlier this month, strength and conditioning coach Troy Hatton was suspended following his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Tagged: New Mexico, Meiko Locksley

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