Joe Franklin leaving Lobos to become Louisville head coach

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Joe Franklin is leaving the Lobos. He made UNM’s Track and Field team one of the most successful programs in the country.

“We’ve obviously been here for 16 years, this is our home,” Franklin said. “This is where our friends are, but now it’s time to do something different.”

Franklin said Louisville reached out.

“Listened to what they had to say, and my wife and I came to the conclusion that, hey, let’s, let’s take a leap,” Franklin said.

Putting family into perspective was another reason Franklin took the job.

“My wife’s family is 75 miles north, her mother is 74 years old,” Franklin said. “We’re out here and been out here and been invested in the community and now it’s time to go back and invest in our family.”

As Franklin gets ready for a new chapter in Louisville, he’s leaving a lot behind.

He helped build Lobo Cross Country and Track and Field into one of the most successful programs at the school.

Under his tenure, he produced 201 All-Americans, 10 national champions, 27 conference championships, and two national cross-country titles.

Aside from the Lobos, Franklin has also grown the sport of track and field in New Mexico – bringing in the biggest meets and top competition in the country.

“This year alone, just in our sport – our little sport – 9,000 hotel rooms,” Franklin said. “That’s massive. That’s Balloon Fiesta kind of numbers.”

There’s one thing that he wants to forever stay a tradition for the Lobos who step on the track.

“Championship turquoise,” Franklin said. “You only wear turquoise to a national championship.”