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October 06, 2012


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You wonder why the UTEP football team is as bad as it is? Here’s why…

1. You get what you pay for --- It’s not just hiring a great head coach so much as it is getting quality assistants and recruiters. Boise State, for example, has great assistant coaches, top to bottom. It pays a decent salary for them.

2. Athletic director --- Ours is not exactly the greatest of athletic leaders. He lacks vision AND fund-raising ability, but get a pass for another losing season. Go figure.

3. Fans – ¾ of a million people in El Paso and we can’t get 30,000 into the stands. Hard to fund a losing program without people in the seats. By percentage, we may have the worst fan attendance in the country.

4. Competition --- One money game a year is plenty. Three is insanity. Instead of scheduling multiple, assured-loss games, or going the other direction and scheduling lower division patsies, why not schedule more teams our speed? Wouldn’t it be better to schedule teams the caliber of NMSU, against whom we are competitive since we can't fill the Sun Bowl when teams like Oklahoma University come to town?

5. Location, location, location --- Hard to recruit top athletes when the fertile recruiting grounds are 600 miles away. Not a darn thing to do about this problem.

6. Marketing the sports teams --- Not much to say except UTEP is terrible at getting tails in the Sun Bowl with its marketing programs. Not sure which school is worse at this, NMSU or UTEP. Either way, baaaad.


The suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked!



Let's face facts. Saturday's performance was an embarrassment to the City of El Paso and UTEP. We know what needs to be done. Mike Price needs to be fired now so that we can get through the process of bringing in a new coaching staff as soon as possible. That's what is best for UTEP and that is what is best for El Paso. We need to get the big donors in the city to agree to help finance this move and we need to pay our coaches a competitive salary.


I subscribe to the location, location, location theory of MinerFan. In my 40 or so years of watching Miner football, I can't remember any coach or Miner athletic regime that consistently put a good team on the field - that is, year in and year out. Sure, there would be the occasional decent team making it to a lesser-known bowl. But have we ever had a consistent appearance in the Top 25? Top 50? No, only the Bottom 10. Firing Price is not the solution. During those years Joe mentions, more often the cycle was: coach has losing record for several seasons and is fired, new coach inherits old coach's senior laden class and has a good year or two, new coach hired by another university and then bombs. Isn't this what happened with Stull? So instead, I say keep Price and fire Joe Muench instead. We may not have a better football team but we'll have a lot better reading material.


It's not Price. Five winning seasons in the more than four decades is indicative of something besides the coach.

Perhaps the Miners do belong in a lower division where the team can compete? Perhaps UTEP should put its money in all those other sports that could use it and give up football once and for all. (Personally, I'd like to see a mens football team.) Mens soccer, anyone?

Might as well add another losing season to the books. After all, there's always next year.


I enjoyed going to UTEP baseball games back when they played at Dudley Field. Too bad they don't have the budget to afford baseball and participate in Conference USA baseball. I'm definitely not a fan of spending more money on football when other major sports are poorly funded (or not at all). Especially given that fickle fans will only support their football team when they are winning. It seems to me, that if you really want a Div-1 competitive football program (say consistently top 50), then you need to park your behind in a seat for every home game through bad times as well as good.

Tio Tomas

Mike price is the result of bob stull and Diana nastylicios failure to support an athletic program while waiting for their retirement pensions to kick in. Nastylicio is concerned with growing the bureacracy of academia, at the expense of athletics. Athletics provides pride of competition and winning which she utterly abhors. If she were willing to win along with her lapdog Stull they would fire Mike Price now.

Athletics is a linchpin to school pride, it helps elevate the morale of a student body. Unfortunately for nebbish academia, sports is the enemy.

The offense run by price and family is abhorrent. For UTEP to post a consistent 6-6 record, it would be the start of a decent program.

Location of UTEP has nothing to do with it being a consistent loser.Players want to win and they want to play for winners. players want to help make a bad school better, but you can't with a tired broken down coach.

I am tired of the excuses everyone makes for Price. Time for price to ride off into the sunset, as for dignity, that is earned. His record has proven otherwise


If location was the issue then Texas Tech would consistently suck. Stillwater doesn't have much to it either, and OSU is pretty good so that theory is a load of junk. What is true is that coaches rely too much on talent and too little on brains when it comes to selecting players. It takes a particular brand of stupidity on the part of an offense when it is unable to score on the SMU defense.

Andy Springer

Too many dropped balls and Nick is throwing into double and triple coverage. He is very dangerous throwing the football. The defense played really well with the exception of allowing an SMU receiver all alone on their first touchdown. No one was near him in coverage. The offensive runners had no lanes to run through. They played so well against OU, Ole Miss (without Jeffery) and especially Wisconsin. Now they can't block SMU? Travel fatigue could be blamed I guess, but the season is not lost. Everyone expected a win against SMU. They will play better the remander of the season.


Joe, this will be Coach Price's last year. He took the team to 3 bowl games on his watch. You, Joe, say you like him but during the Vittatoe years, all you did was contribute to the mindset of negative ways. You'll now have to live with what you sowed. UTEP was/is lucky to have Coach Price. Get ready for the dreadful 2 win seasons again. Maybe if you get another chance at winning you'll appreciate what you have instead of knocking it down. But then again, considering how you and some other El Paso times writers are...I think not.

Dustin Jones

This team is half good. Fire Price and the offensive staff, let Patterson become head coach and allow him to hire a new offensive staff.


Hey, Jay Koester, how's Kansas doing ? No more South Dakota States on their schedule. Good to have you gone, loser. Hope Joe's next.........


May I ask, how long must a fan endure a coach who has been fielding bad Utep teams consistently? Yes, he won early on after being hired. But he has seven losing seasons in a row. Where is it written that that is a good thing? Most of you forget that at one point M. Price was hired by the #1 football program in the country, Alabama. They must have felt that he was a great coach! Yet he can't find a way to win in a extremely weak and lousy conference??? I too like and respect coach Price, but it's become evident that he can no longer produce a winning program, money or not. Folks, this is a bad conference with mostly bad teams. For firing him now,I don't think that would do much for program at this point, i'd let him finish the year and them hope he retires with grace.

A Fan


Location has a lot to do with it. Lubbock is 300 miles from the center of Dallas. Stillwater, OK, less than that. It's not a plane ride, it's less than a five hour DRIVE down the interstate. Easy access to high schools and easy recruiting. Players, can drive home on the weekends. That true of El Paso or Las Cruces for guys from Denton? Nah.

So yes, location matters when the recruiting gold in Texas is in a 100 mile ring around the Dallas metroplex. It matters a lot when a kid is being recruited by a school located out in the middle of nowhere to a team that has had a losing record 40 out of 45 years.

No money, no tradition, no fans, bad location. Let's be realistic, schools in UTEP's boat will not win FBS-level football on a regular basis.


So the drive home is the only reason? Pretty faulty reasoning. Ok, how about this, Air Force can only recruit players who qualify for the academy and yet they have been consistently effective. Or how about this, Boise State is no where near anywhere worth a lick and yet.... Notably some of the better UTEP players in the last decade walked on originally... so who dropped the ball there. Recruiting, for a mid-major, is about developing deep roots with area coaches and is augmented by an appreciation for finding players that are overlooked. The few times UTEP gets this right, they find gold. TCU for instance used a formula of smart scouting (especially at the lower high school classifications) to find the players other schools overlooked to build the power that they are today. Why can't UTEP even come close to finding guys with the gray matter necessary to duplicate such a formula? And, as much as people put down our local products, why is UTEP incapable of taking what we have in the local area and develop them. We may not have the ability to field a state champion football team locally, but that does not mean that there are not athletes scattered among 30+ high schools in the area that cannot be developed into quality college players.

Mark Salazar

Unfortunately the UTEP football program can’t get on the right track. UTEP is located too deep in a distant West Texas location to consistently successfully recruit in Texas. The program needs its own identity and should learn from programs like Boise State, Oregon State, Arizona, Baylor, Utah, Cincinnati, and Tulsa. They need to spend some money on some consultants to help them find their niche.

The athletic program has some great facilities for a school in a less than stellar conference. I have a son attending Stanford and the facilities compare very favorably, but of course not academically and UTEP does not have billions in its endowment fund. However, the University has a lot going for it and needs to focus on its laudable points for example, great football weather, the only show in town, and a great place to get an education. There are other football programs that have poor football programs and are located in geographically ideal locations like San Diego State that have problems getting off the ground. So the location is not everything. Never-the-less UTEP needs to make a true commitment to the athletic department (including getting new blood in the athletic administration) if they intend to compete consistently. They should forget about trying to compete with the top tiered programs in the country for talent.

I agree Price has pretty much done all he could to turn the program around. Unfortunately he could not duplicate the kind of success he had at Washington State. UTEP has tried to recruit against the traditional powers in Texas and it does not work. There are a bunch of student athletes that would rather sit on the bench for four years at Texas than play at schools like UTEP…forget them and move on.
I wished Price had tailored the program like a Pac Ten school and he would have been more successful. He cannot seem to win conference games on the road either. The Miners need a young, hungry, and tough coach and a well paid staff.

Regarding the support from the El Paso population, they are very fickle and need a consistent (somewhat realistic) winning tradition to bring them to the stadium. There is no way the university will be a BCS contender, but it's possible to maybe have a chance to crack into the top 25 every 4 or 5 years or so. It is an embarrassment UTEP has not played in the Sun Bowl since the late 1960’s. There is a whole generation that has not seen consistent winning.

I am a 1980's UTEP graduate and purchase season tickets even though I rarely attend the games, because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I would hope the powers to be at UTEP can get their act together and start building a tradition of being competitive. I agree there is a sufficient population of people in El Paso that have the disposable income to support the team. The big hurdle is to get them on board and off the losing mentality. Also the fans need to just attend the games no matter what, including attending TV driven Friday night and Saturday day games.

Go Miners and good luck with the upcoming tough decisions.



Here is a bit of reality for UTEP fans:
2004 8-4 Overall 6-2 Conference (Gary Nords Players)
2005 8-4 Overall 5-3 Conference (Gary Nords Players)
2006 5-7 Overall 3-5 Conference Begining of PRICE ERA
2007 4-8 Overall 2-6 Conference
2008 5-7 Overall 4-4 Conference
2009 4-8 Overall 3-5 Conference
2010 6-7 Overall 3-5 Conference
2011 5-7 Overall 2-6 Conference
2012 1-5 So far 0-2 Conference so far

Overall Record at UTEP for Mike Price 2- 7 and we accepted it all these years. Frank Solich was 9-3 in his last season at Nebraska and got fired. A winning coach got fire in all his years at Nebraska, nothing but winning season, and still got fired, but here we are at UTEP accepting mediocre frrom MIKE PRICE and BOB STULL

Dustin Jones

Here's another assistant from the past who might help us now as a head coach - Mickey Matthews, head coach, James Madison University. He helped that team upset Virginia Tech and is having another good season in 2012. He was an assistant here in the 1980's and was a really vocal, excited kind of guy. He's a Texas native and went to West Texas A&M, so he'd be coming home so to speak, too. Overall record at JMU is 100-62. Not bad at all. Or how about David Lee Part II or a Gary Nord Part II? Lee is the man who brought the Wildcat offense to the NFL. Nord is offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic the last I checked. If Price won with Nord's players, wouldn't you say that Nord was doing something right?

A Fan

Sorry Brad,

Location matters when a faraway school has a bad football rep (and has had one for 40 years --- UTEP ---), and is recruiting against teams that are smack dab in the middle a hot recruiting area. Put it this way, if you are a three-star high school football player living in north Dallas and being recruited by UTEP or North Texas State, which team do you think has the recruiting advantage? Stellar UTEP? Not likely! Not saying UTEP doesn’t get some, but honestly, all things being equal, the closer you are to home, the better your chances of recruiting success. That is spot-on reasoning.

And it’s a two way street about location. Think of location in another way. When a school’s recruiter can get into a car and drive three hours to watch a high school game, isn’t that an advantage over a school whose recruiters have to get into a plane and fly 650 miles? You bet it is. Don’t believe it, go ask a recruiter that makes those flights? The more players you can watch play, the better you can judge the talent you are recruiting. Add a limited budget, ala UTEP and NMSU, and you are at a disadvantage.

As far as Boise…look at it this way…there are 4 major schools in Oregon and Washington and a buttload of football players around Seattle and Portland, not to mention the rest of Idaho, Montana, etc. Doesn’t that give Boise the advantage being 400 miles away over, say, Colorado? It does. Boise was recruiting good players from the region well before they moved up to the FBS division. Now that they have a rep, they can recruit from farther away.

You mention Air Force. Now that is a special situation. (Sort of like BYU having an advantage in recruiting players who are Mormons.) High School kids go to AFA because they want to be in a service academy. Same as Army and Navy. Sure the kids play football for the academy, but all of those kids must have high academic standings, a strong desire, AND have people of note writing letters of recommendation for them to get in. People who go to the Air Force academy go there because it’s the Air Force Academy. Period. Notice that AFA doesn't have the biggest or fastest players...just the smartest. You think football players, who aren’t from Eastwood or Parkland in El Paso, seek UTEP out the way kids do for the AFA? Not a chance. Why would they? so, yes, location does matter in the case of schools like UTEP and NMSU --- both miserable football schools.

One last thing, I wrote 6 reasons why UTEP wasn’t successful. Location is just one.

Dustin Jones

They should at the very least announce that Price will be stepping down at the end of the season and get on with a search for a new coach ASAP. Why wait? Get it done now.

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UTEP sports blog: Joe Muench has been a sports writer and a sports editor in El Paso for decades, but he’s best known as the columnist everyone loves to talk about. His UTEP athletics blog starts up the conversation again.

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