Report: Kevin Cross Out as UTEP Women’s Soccer Head Coach
After 21 years in the UTEP women's soccer program, head coach Kevin Cross was let go Monday afternoon following a 7-8-4 (2-5-3 C-USA) and 12th place finish in the 2018 season, per UTEP athletics.
The Miners also missed the C-USA tournament for the second-straight season.
There is a national search already for his replacement.
“We’d like to thank Kevin for all his hard work during 20-plus years at UTEP,” Director of Athletics Jim Senter said in a release. “He built a regionally competitive program. As we look to take the next step and contend for conference championships, we felt like it was best to move in a new direction. We wish Kevin well in his future endeavors.”
Prior to this season, UTEP averaged 12 wins per season and reached three conference title games and one NCAA tournament bid (2005, second round) under Cross.
“I am disappointed to be relieved of my duties as head soccer coach at UTEP after 21 years at UTEP and 18 years as the head coach,” Cross said in a statement. “I would like to thank Veronica O’Brien for hiring me as an assistant coach in 1997, the year after the program began, and Bob Stull for hiring me as the head coach in 2001. I also appreciate my staff, who is like family to me in Heather Clark who has been with me for 15 years and Jessie Pettit. I have really loved my time at UTEP and the El Paso community has treated me great. We have had a lot of success in the UTEP Soccer program, going 15 years in a row with winning records and amassing over 200 wins, all at UTEP. We have played in three championship games and the second round of the NCAA tournament. On top of that, we have had great success in the classroom and every player I have coached for four years has graduated. I am looking forward to my next challenge in life and I am very appreciative of all that UTEP Soccer has given me. I wish nothing but the best for UTEP Soccer as it is always going to be a part of my soul. I am leaving UTEP Soccer with a heavy heart but I have been forced to move on. I have given every ounce of energy to UTEP Soccer for the last 21 years, which is an incredible run.”
Coming into the season, he was ranked 40th nationally for winningest active coaches in NCAA Division I soccer, as rated by percentage (.628). Cross finished his tenure at UTEP with an overall record of 212-125-27.
He leaves UTEP as one of five coaches in athletics history to have piled up at least 200 career wins at the school (Don Haskins, men's basketball, 719-354; Norm Brandl, volleyball, 355-337; Keitha Adams, women's basketball, 284-209; and co-head coaches James and Kathleen Rodriguez, softball, 211-325).
UTEP's final game of the 2018 season finished on a draw (0-0) against UTSA last Friday night.
Here's what Cross said after the game:
"UTEP soccer battled very hard tonight against a spirited UTSA squad," Cross said. "To end the season undefeated in the last four games shows how much we have grown as a team. I am very appreciative of our team's effort to close out the season. We will carry over this momentum into the 2019 campaign."
"I am also very thankful for our five seniors' outstanding career. Payton Ross who set our career minutes played record tonight, Alyssa Palacios who set the career shutouts in goal, Carleigh Simmons our captain and four year starter, and Jodie and Sheridan Smith who have shown great character to comeback from major injuries to contribute to our team's success this year."
Cross made $73,185 annually as of 2016, according to governmental data received by the Texas Tribune.