UTEP’s Tim Floyd Still Grinding Pick Axe with El Paso Sportstalk Host
Today marks the one year anniversary since my public press conference confrontation with UTEP men's basketball head coach Tim Floyd. In the 12 months since the incident, words like #DeadAss, #fiction, and #feed have become commonplace on our social media pages.
Looking back on that day, I had never attended a press conference in my 22 years in broadcasting where the agenda was personal. Floyd was under the impression that I had been hammering him on Sportstalk for the sudden departures inside his men's basketball program at UTEP. I posed a question on air days before that press conference that he was losing control of his team. What bothered me at the time was that multiple players were announcing on social media that they were transferring from the team, but the university would not comment nor return phone calls or texts.
At his press conference a week later, Floyd made it a point to address the increasing number of transfers in college basketball and how it directly impacted his team. While he gave out information to the media on transfers and players turning pro, he focused his anger directly on me. If you take away the confrontation and analyze the information he disseminated, it was some very good material. However, the big takeaway from that afternoon was that he got personal with a member of the local media.
It seems like I still get people coming up to me all the time and asking about that day. They wonder if Coach Floyd and I have patched things up between us. The truth is, we have not spoken a word to each other since May 10th last year. We did sit across from each other at a funeral last November, but that has been it. I did make multiple efforts to try and meet with him behind closed doors, but nothing ever came out of it. What surprised me most of all was some of the people who wanted to help get the two of us together to settle our differences. I appreciate the efforts from all of those who have tried to help, but don't expect any on-air interviews any time soon. Tim Floyd has no interest in patching things up.
Some of my listeners wonder why I continue to praise Floyd after what happened between us last year. The answer is easy, he is a good coach who unfortunately is in a bad situation at UTEP. The Miners and 13 other teams are competing each season for one spot in the NCAA Tournament. C-USA gets little to no respect by anyone in college basketball, especially the NCAA Selection Committee. The only thing that matters is which team wins the C-USA Tournament and gets the automatic bid to the NCAAs. Floyd's Miners came closest during his first season with UTEP, when they led Memphis by 12 points with six minutes left to play. Since then, Floyd has not been able to win the games that matter most in the conference postseason tournament, and the inability to advance to the Big Dance has led to a frustrated fan base.
When I look at the coaching job he did with the Miners over the last two months of the 2016-17 season, I thought it was worthy of C-USA recognition. After all, he took a team that was ranked next to last in RPI in January and nearly finished third in conference play. Most of the fans who were calling for his head earlier in the season, praised him for the team's turnaround and are back in his corner again. It seems like Floyd and his staff do their best coaching jobs when they are dealing with the most adversity.
As we prepare for the 2017-18 season, Floyd took the opposite approach with his team. He recruited a large class to prepare for the potential losses of transfers. At the same time, he kept his core talent in place (although Deon Barrett announced today that he was leaving the program) and hopes to finally build a lasting foundation that will contend for an NCAA Tournament appearance. I hope he finally has the right pieces in place to deliver on what he promised fans eight years ago when he came back to UTEP.