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UTEP Football: What’s next for the program?

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Army Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

UTEP Athletics is in a crucial state of administrative flux. (if you will) The right, and out of the box decisions need to be made to win back a frustrated fan base, and it starts with the hiring of a new athletic director who will make the even more important hire of a new head football coach.

Truth is, there is no telling which direction a new athletic director will go with this next football hire, but these two hires in general are crucial to energize an uninterested, and falling off the ledge fan base with two splash hires.

Here’s a snapshot of what could happen next in terms of football.

The interim

UTEP players won’t find out who the head coach will be until tomorrow so here are a few guesses of that could be.

  • Tom Mason
  • Spencer Leftwich
  • Brian Natkin

Mason has been an interim head coach twice in his career, and could be the leading “candidate.” Kugler will probably recommend Leftwich, although Brian Natkin has recruited almost everyone on UTEP’s roster.

The entire process starts with placing the right guy in place in order to keep some sort of normalcy, or at least comfortably among the players and staff.

The players need a strong leader right now to keep things together, if possible. They understand there is still lots of season to go, and they need as much support from the remaining staff as they can get right now.

Quick wish list for next head coach

  • Sonny Combie—-Current TCU offensive coordinator
  • Sonny Dykes—-Current TCU offensive analyst
  • Sterlin Gilbert——Current USF offensive coordinator
  • Brian Johnson—--Current Houston offensive coordinator

There’s a theme inside my wishlist, offense.

UTEP football needs to be fun again, why not start with a fun passing game that will be attractive enough to shake things up?

Combie would probably be a very, very expensive hire, and the longest shot on this list. Dyke and Gilbert would also probably come with a price too, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Sterling Gibert’s power spread offense would fit UTEP’s current roster personnel, and at 39-years old, a young coach would be welcomed and a first at UTEP.

Brian Johnson has a a lot of Houston and Texas ties for recruiting, but has the least amount of coordinator experience.

I’d even smile if Graham Harrell’s name happens to come up.

Football wise: UTEP needs an offensive minded, coordinator experienced type who will be hands on in development of player progression, and the system he or she wants to implement.

Recruiting, and program wise: A Texas, and nationally well connected recruiter who can tap into proven pipelines for athletes that fit the new system, and try to raise UTEP’s recruiting profile, if possible.

What UTEP’s administration needs to do....

Clean house, hit the reset button, and THINK BIG.

UTEP is a perennial loser, I understand this, but G5 schools like UTSA, North Texas, New Mexico, LA Tech, FAU all have stepped up their football profile with resources, attention, and great hires at the top.

Basically, its time for UTEP, and the new AD to politely ask donors and the University to open up their pocket books and make a splash hire and help this new coach with a solid assistant coach salary pool.

Complacency in this football hire will drive the UTEP football program further down than its ever been its 100 years of existence. It’s time to invest in areas of player development, and give the next head coach the proper resources to surround himself with a hungry staff.

UTEP football is a gold mine for success with the right hire, i.e. Mike Price’s first two years. That can happen again, it may take much longer this time and UTEP football has only two legit years of good football in the modern era under its belt.

Although the return on the investment in this day in age of college football popularity could go really far for the program and those around it if the correct, aggressive, and innovative hire makes UTEP Football fun again.

Its time to follow suit of others who understand football complacency leads to a dead athletic department money wise and its time for UTEP to at least try what their G5 brothers are doing when it comes to making a big hire.

Again, none of this matters until a new AD is hired, but the football program needs a quick major shake up, and it starts with resources, and money.