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Miner Fans: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Steve Kaplowitz.

Earlier this week, UTEP basketball fans were experiencing that recurring feeling of uneasiness. It is the sense of dread when their head men’s basketball coach is rumored to be leaving for another job. The feeling was never a problem during Don Haskins’ 38-year run, but Billy Gillispie, Doc Sadler, and Tony Barbee have all made Miner basketball fans question their coaches’ loyalty. Since Tim Floyd took over the UTEP program in 2010, he was supposed to be the team’s savior, who was returning home to rescue the program and not bail out on Miner fans. However, like his three predecessors, Floyd’s name has surfaced in various head coaching vacancies over the last three years. USC, Southern Miss, and Texas Tech were just a few of the universities that he was linked to. The latest rumor involved Missouri, when’s Jeff Goodman reported Tuesday night that Floyd “showed interest” in the job.

One day later, Floyd told Bill Knight of the El Paso Times that he was not going anywhere and UTEP fans would have to put up with him for another year. At the same time, UTEP AD Bob Stull told me that Floyd signed a new five-year contract with the school in 2013. At the age of 60, Floyd could be entering his final run as a college basketball head coach. He came back to UTEP so he could return to their men’s basketball program to their dominant days of the 1980s. After four seasons as coach of the Miners, Floyd still has not delivered on his promise. The team is yet to make the NCAA Tournament, but instead has lost first round games in the NIT and CBI.

In Floyd’s defense, he has dealt with losing numerous signees because of academic qualifications and his most prized recruit opted out of his signed LOI and decided to stay close to home and signed with UCLA so he could play in front of his sick grandmother (but his younger brother had no problem honoring his LOI to Connecticut). Last season was fun for Miner fans, and many call Floyd’s coaching job one of the best in the program’s history. With a loaded recruiting class that is guard heavy, UTEP is poised to make a serious run at C-USA in the 2014-15 season. Hopefully, Miner fans can enjoy the team’s rise back to the top instead of always worrying about losing their head coach to another school.

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