Grad, student assistants integral part of ENMU coaching staff

Dave Wagner

WITH FOUR FULLTIME PAID coaches, Eastern New Mexico University’s football staff is supplemented by graduate assistants Josh Lynn and Mike Connelly, plus a number of student assistants.
Virtually all of them played at ENMU.
“Probably one of the differences between our staff and others is the quality of our graduate assistants and student assistants,” defensive coordinator Mark Ribaudo said. “They do as much as the fulltime coaches. They do a lot of the ‘dirty’ work — and the range of pay is from peanuts to nothing.
“They’re all dedicated to the Greyhounds. Hopefully, the tradeoff is that they’re learning a lot about coaching and how to run a program.”
Lynn, who coaches wide receivers, and Connelly, who works with defensive tackles, say it’s a labor of love. Lynn is the son of former Texico football coach David Lynn.
“My father and my brother are both coaches,” said Lynn, who is from Eunice. “I’ve been around it all my life. I just think it’s what I know.”
Connelly, a Portales High grad, finished a four-year career as a defensive lineman at ENMU last fall.
“I’d been thinking about (coaching) since I was a freshman; it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “I’m lucky I got the opportunity to do it here.”
Undergraduates who have completed their eligibility and are helping out include Draco Miller (tight ends and offensive line), Heath Ridenour (quarterbacks), Derrick Hadden (secondary), Randy Montoya (outside linebackers) and Isaiah Jackson (running backs).

AFTER SATURDAY’S 24-14 LOSS at Midwestern State, the Hounds saw their chance to earn the school’s first playoff berth since moving from the NAIA into NCAA Division II in the late 1980s diminish.
At 5-2, they probably have to win their final four games — three at home, plus a big one in two weeks at ninth-ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville — to earn one of the four playoff berths in the West Region.
“We can’t take anybody for granted,” said Elliott, whose team hosts Texas A&M-Commerce (1-6) in a 1 p.m. tilt on Saturday at Blackwater Draw. “We can’t be looking ahead.
“This (loss) will knock us out of the top four in the region, but if we can win at home and pull one off against Kingsville I think we’ll have a chance to make it.”

THE CHANCES FORMER All-Lone Star Conference wide receiver Cale Sanders playing again this fall remain an unknown.
The Roswell senior has missed virtually all of the season with a groin injury. A specialist in Tampa, Fla., told him he didn’t need surgery and that, with rest, it’s possible he could be back for the Greyhounds’ final few games.
“The specialist said Cale didn’t have a ‘sports hernia,’” ENMU coach Bud Elliott said. “There’s a chance he could be back, but I’m not sure if he will — or for how long. He’s being treated here for the injury.”
Sanders caught 48 passes for ENMU in 2001 and was a dangerous kick returner. He missed last season with a shoulder injury.