UTEP Fires Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Brian Burton
In the words—or tweet—of Efe Odigie, "when it rains, it pours."
And another rainy day hit today for the UTEP men's basketball program as UTEP assistant coach Brian Burton announced via Twitter today that he will not return to the program next season and has been removed from the staff.
"To start the week last week Coach Terry called me in for a meeting where he informed me that he would not have me back as his Assistant Coach at UTEP moving further from that day," Burton wrote via Twitter. Naturally, this came as a surprise for me but I respected his decision & made sure he knew how grateful I was for the opportunity to work for him at Fresno State last season as a Director of Operations & then him promoting me to Assistant coach on his staff here at UTEP."
"Anyone who knows me knows how dedicated, loyal, & all about UTEP I have been since I arrived here a year ago. Excited not only to be back in Texas but working for a Coach I greatly respected and was determined to help him build a championship program back in El Paso. Not only am I grateful for all those but also things beyond basketball like hosting a baby shower at his house last month to show support for my new 3 week baby girl... To UTEP & El Paso... Thanks again for Everything! I wish Coach Terry, the staff, the players and all of Miner Nation nothing but the very best!" - Burton via Twitter
This announcement by Burton comes a day after the University of San Diego identified UTEP men's assistant basketball coach Lamont Smith as participating in a massive college admissions scheme. However, Burton's firing, which was said to have happened a week ago, appears like it has nothing to do with the resignation and scandal of Smith.
Where this starts to get tough is when you look at what impact Burton made on the program. While Terry highly thought of a guy like Smith, he also seemed to value Burton's expertise in recruiting.
Burton joined Terry at Fresno State as Director of Basketball Operations during the 2017-18 season. He worked his way to becoming UTEP's assistant coach in April 2018.
Keep a close eye on current and incoming UTEP players in the coming weeks. We know that Burton—and Smith—built a strong camaraderie among the team. If a player disagrees with the firing or if one of the assistant coaches were the reason behind the player choosing UTEP, they could decide to leave as well.
On the flip-side, maybe Terry simply wanted to clean house and start fresh. Maybe he sees a different plan and has already locked down all the current and incoming players to stay put. We simply don't know yet.
No comment or further announcement has been made by UTEP.