With Mike Price Back, What’s Next for UTEP Football?
This morning, UTEP ended days of speculation by announcing that Mike Price would return as head coach for the 2012 season. Fans that have called into 600 ESPN El Paso were split on the Price decision. Some believe that is time for a change and do not want want to settle for mediocrity. Others argue that Price's teams have been more competitive and consistant than during any other period of time. The big question is now that the coaching situation has been resolved, what's next for UTEP Athletics?
The obvious answer is find a way to get fans back to football games. I did not believe a coaching change at UTEP would have had much impact on attendance for next year's team. The problem is much deeper than Mike Price and involves tailgating. Over the last 4-5 years, I must have recieved hundreds of emails and comments from fans upset at the university's restrictions for tailgating. Stull has tried to calm fans down and assure them that tailgating is the same as it's aways been. Unfortunately, UTEP fans are not buying that answer.
The UTEP Athletic Department needs to make it their mission to attract the thousands of El Pasoans that have gradually disappeared from Miner football games. It starts and ends with tailgating. The university's depleted marketing team needs to discover a way to make Glory Field and the rest of the UTEP campus the biggest party this city has ever seen. Once they accomplish that, they need to duplicate it for every one of their six home games. Whether it's a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing fans to stay by their vehicles during games, big name acts invited to play, being able to bring certain food and drinks inside the Sun Bowl, or any other promotional ideas, this will the number one focus to help attract fans back into the game.