Back to the Future: Former UTEP OL Sean Kugler Returns as Head Coach [FULL VIDEO]
The reception area of the Larry K. Durham Center was filled with the faithful -- UTEP boosters and a number of ex-players -- all ready to welcome back one of their own to lead the Miners' football program. Sean Kugler was re-introduced to El Paso and took virtually no time to express his love for the university and the community.
"I love El Paso. Two of my children were conceived here," he said, eliciting laughs all around.
The New York native was a star offensive lineman under former coach and athletic director Bob Stull during the Miners' only winning seasons directly before Mike Price's first two years at the helm.
A program without a great deal of success will turn to an NFL assistant with no head coaching experience to guide it.
Longtime fans couldn't be happier.
A popular player on the only Miners' team in the history of the program to win 10 games, Kugler started his coaching career in Tampa as a high school coach before returning to his alma mater as a graduate assistant, and was a full-time assistant on UTEP's last conference championship team in 2000.
Kugler promised a hard-working team skilled in situational play, an attacking defense and a two-back multiple offense much like the Boise State program he both coached against in the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl and for in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl -- the magical 43-42 overtime win over Oklahoma that catapulted the Broncos program into the BCS-busting powerhouse it is now.
For the many UTEP fans who believe the Miners should be able to duplicate Boise's success, they have one of the key ingredients the Broncos enjoyed in that undefeated 2006 season.
A 10-year veteran of NFL coaching, Kugler will return to the Pittsburgh Steelers to finish out the 2012 season before joining the UTEP program for good. Interestingly, Pittsburgh remains in position to make the playoffs, but depending on how deep a run the Steelers make, the Miners may not have a great deal of time to shore up their 2013 recruits.
National Letter of Intent Signing Day is Wednesday, Feb. 6 -- three days after Super Bowl 47.
Details of his contract have yet to be worked out, but Kugler could reportedly get a six-figure bump in pay over his predecessor, Mike Price. He hopes to have a coaching staff in place in El Paso to oversee recruiting soon after having his contract approved by the UT System Board of Regents.
With apologies for a shaky stage, collapsing tripod and for forgetting that -- while UTEP play-by-play man Jon Teicher, Stull and Kugler are all over six feet tall -- President Dr. Diana Natalicio stands barely over five feet (you'll understand when you see the video), here's the press conference in full...