New UTEP Men’s Basketball Coaching Staff Has Perfect Balance
In recent years, many of our 600 ESPN El Paso listeners to SportsTalk have accused me of overhyping UTEP teams long before they start their season. If I get people excited and the team fails to live up to the hype, I have given the Miner Nation false hope. Despite vowing never to do this again, the new UTEP men's basketball coaching staff has me pumped, so it is time to start the hype machine again.
New head coach Joe Golding hired three assistants that he did not know well prior to taking the UTEP job. He has a veteran bench coach in Jeremy Cox, a top notch recruiter in Butch Pierre, and a longtime NBA vet in Earl Boykins. All three bring completely different skill sets to the mix, and they seem to provide the perfect compliment to Golding.
Cox grew up in the 1980s in Wyoming and he remembers the great UTEP teams of that era and the classic WAC battles. Boykins played here in the 1995 Sun Bowl Tournament and he still cannot believe how many fans attended the games during Christmas break. Pierre's 30-year relationship with Tim Floyd had him excited about the opportunity to coach in El Paso.
Over the last week, I have a chance to visit with all three new hires and each of them spoke glowingly about their 45-year old boss. They described him as a genuine guy and the type of head coach that will connect with everyone. I believe them. Joe Golding has an unbelievable level of enthusiasm and positive energy that players and coaches will feed off of. I believe he will have the same impact on the UTEP fan base, who have been waiting more than a decade to see the men's basketball program return to prominence.
It is also interesting to note that three former Miners head coaches have played important roles in helping to form Golding's assistants. Both Billy Gillespie and Doc Sadler strongly recommended Cox, while Coach Floyd helped his longtime friend Pierre get an opportunity to join the staff. The only one who did not have a former Miner to put in a good word for him was Boykins, but he played against Abilene Christian last season while on the staff at Arkansas, and he was impressed enough by Coach Golding to reach out to him on his own.
What also impressed me was how much the UTEP head coach vetted all of his new assistants before he decided to hire them. Golding reached out to coaches and former players and took his time while he built his staff to make sure that each assistant was the right fit for his team.
First impressions are important and I think that everything is in place to see the men's basketball program return to prominence. So, believe the hype and let's jump back on the bandwagon again to get Miner Ball back at the Don Haskins Center.