Earlier this morning, UTEP announced that Dana Dimel will not return as head football coach of the Miners. The decision should come as a surprise to nobody, considering the team's 3-9 finish this season. Now, Director of Athletics Jim Senter will be spending the next week or two interviewing candidates for the vacancy. As the list of potential coaching replacements start to emerge, will UTEP make the necessary changes to attract the best possible fit for the program and ultimately bring a successful winning tradition back to the university for the first time in well over 50 years?

The first question every coaching candidate will ask when they meet with the UTEP hiring committee is what type of Name Image Likeness (NIL) the football program has. When they hear that the answer is none, some of them might want to withdraw their name from consideration. The fact is that in order to compete in college athletics in 2023 and beyond, an NIL is a must. UTEP has an NIL for college basketball, the Miner Collective, but it does not include football or other sports. That needs to change in a hurry. NMSU, for example, has an NIL that currently has raised about half a million dollars. The A-Mountain Sports collective includes $300,000 for football and $170,000 for men's basketball. Some local businesses have stepped up to include UTEP athletes in commercials or marketing campaigns and have been compensated for their time. However, the Miners will need a much bigger NIL effort to help the next head coach take the football program to the kind of levels that fans are expecting.

UTEP hopes that their next head coach will re-energize the fan base and fill up the Sun Bowl next season. Photo courtesy of Steve Kaplowitz.
UTEP hopes that their next head coach will re-energize the fan base and fill up the Sun Bowl next season. Photo courtesy of Steve Kaplowitz.

It has been 20 years since the Larry Durham Center was built as an add-on to the north entrance of the Sun Bowl Stadium. Since then, the university added luxury seating to the west side of the stadium, but UTEP's facilities for football are still lagging behind the rest of Group of 5 programs. The athletic department does have a master plan, which includes upgrades to the LKD as well as plans to revamp the locker rooms inside the Sun Bowl tunnel. However, a new coach might want amenities like a lounge area for players, a game room, a training table, and many other necessities that other G5 programs have implemented in recent years to stay competitive.

The next change that UTEP needs to implement is a higher coaching pool for assistants and support staff. For example, Miner defensive coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto was making a salary of $311,750 this season and Associate Head Coach Matt Wallerstedt earned $205,000. However, the other eight assistant coaches are all being paid in the range of between $60,000 and $170,000. In comparison, UNLV plays in the Mountain West and their football coaching staff makes between $158,000 and $310,000. If UTEP could get closer to that figure, the Miners could attract some high-quality assistants for their next head coach.

Finally, it is time that UTEP takes the next step and offers its next head football coach a base salary of one million dollars. No coach at this university has ever had a base salary of more than $825,000, which was the amount that Dana Dimel made this season. Jamey Chadwell's salary at Liberty is not disclosed, but you can bet that he is making more than any other head coach in CUSA. Jacksonville State's Rich Rodriguez is the only other head coach in the league earning a base salary of one million dollars. Three other coaches are in the range of $910k to $950k (La Tech's Sonny Cumbie, WKU's Tyson Helton, and Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill). UTEP should be in the top three in CUSA when it comes to their head football coach's salary. That is especially true when their average football home attendance is among the highest in the conference.

UTEP Beats Rice 38-28 to Secure 7th Win

Gallery Credit: Jorge Salgado

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