After the impromptu departures of both Lamont Smith and Brian Burton, UTEP head coach Rodney Terry needed to fill two voids for the pair of assistant coaching jobs on the staff.

Today it was announced that a former player and colleague of Terry would rejoin his staff at UTEP. Kenton Paulino, who recently spent two seasons with the Tulsa Hurricanes, has been announced as the next assistant coach for the Miners.

“We’re really excited about Kenton Paulino joining our staff,” UTEP basketball head coach Rodney Terry said in a release. “He’s a guy who comes to us with a wealth of playing experience and coaching experience. He’s won at every level and is a winner. He’s a rising super star in this business and we can’t wait to get to work.”

“I am extremely excited to join the UTEP family and reconnect with coach Terry and staff. I am ready to get to work and help build on UTEP’s basketball tradition.”

- Kenton Paulino

Terry and Paulino's original ties date back to the Texas Longhorns days in the early 2000s, where Terry served as an assistant to Rick Barnes and coached Paulino, a 6-foot-1 guard, from 2003-06. Paulino later joined Terry in a professional coaching setting at Fresno State as an assistant coach (2012-17).

At Texas, Paulino was a part of four NCAA Tournament teams and helped the Longhorns reach the Final Four (2003), Elite Eight (2006) and Sweet 16 (2004), while playing alongside eventual NBA stars like LaMarcus Aldridge and P.J. Tucker.

With the Bulldogs, Terry and Paulino coached Fresno State to three 20-win seasons and three postseason appearances in the NCAA Tournament, NIT and CBI. Paulino was primarily responsible for game preparation, recruiting and development at Fresno State.

Now Paulino recently comes off a two-year stint with Tulsa, where he helped the Golden Hurricanes to back-to-back winning seasons, where Tulsa went 37-26 through two years.

Paulino will be imperative to the Miners' recruiting. We saw the promising recruiting efforts by the new regime thus far and Paulino will be expected to continue that at UTEP, along with game preparation. Getting a coach that has played at the grandest stage in college basketball at the Final Four will serve positively for the Miners.