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March 09, 2013

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Rick

I say we get a creative and demanding AD, that can influence other C-USA ADs to get on the C-USA commissioners arse to work in better sports packages for the conference - as it's easier to sell the conference as a whole. CBSSports isn't enough, UTEP only played 2 or 3 times on that station this year.

Seriously, fire Stull, hire an SEC or Big 12 assistant AD, and watch the program improve.

There are now three network dedicated cable sports TV stations - Fox, CBSSports, NBC Sports (in addition to ESPN One-Ocho); surely, those stations are in need of inventory like C-USA athletics. Heck, a profile on Galavision would be better than UTEPs current TV exposure. And, they'd be in millions of homes.

If that can't happen, UTEP should go independent and make an effort to dedicate their football and b-ball schedules to compete only against BCS conferences. That will get them on national TV, and put more money in their pockets to boot.

They likely will need to find their olympic sports another home, which isn't a big deal with the WAC or Sun Belt.

As the new BCS structure in football evolves, BCS schools will no longer take on Div. 2 or FCS schools. I believe UTEP will have leverage over the next 10 years, and the athletic department could profit more so than being in a conference.

I think NMSUs better days are ahead of them as they compete as an independent in football - recruits will take notice that they'll play marquee institutions, rather than a WAC or Sun Belt school.

That's how Miami built their brand back in the day - they made a huge mistake when they joined the Big East.

Bob

Don't fire Bob Stull. He has had to run the athletic department without Coach Haskins. He was an assistant AD in a major conference. Nice to think our problems are because of one person but they aren't.
We can't get notoriaty by playing on cable tv. People don't tune in to unfamiliar teams. We need local tv coverage so that fans will follow the team. That is the first change needed. Many major conferences allow teams to televise locally. Big schools like Texas and Oklahoma have their own networks.
Nothing is going to be easy. You have to make your own name by winning and winning is possible with local support. As a matter of fact it has to start at home. Coach Haskins succeded in a different era but he won and then became famous. Look at Richmond, VCU, Butler, Gonzaga et al. They are household words but they earned it.
Winning will solve all of our of problems. Go to the sweet 16 and you have your start. Players watch the tournement. That is where you will be seen. Players then make visits to the University and the home crowds that we are capable of are inpressive. Doesn't matter how many networks you are on, you will not be seen unless you are familiar.
Start at home and don't look to place blame by putting all the mistakes on one person. I have been a season ticket holder since 84-85 for basketball (off and on for football). AD Stull is the only real AD during that period. Keep him. Don't fire someone based on the misconception that you know someone better is available.

Rick

Bobby: I don't think you realize that cable packages reach the masses. To my knowledge, more people are cable and satellite consumers, than say local TV.

If a person can't afford basic cable or satellite, they likely have bigger concerns than watching UTEP on KVIA, or any other local station.

As far as Stull, he may have come from the PAC 12, but he's worthless. He didn't learn much while at Washington. I believe he was Asst. AD at Washington when that bozo Neuheisal got run off for an internal basketball office pool. I think he was about to get run-off as well, had the AD UTEP job not opened.

Seriously, what has improved at UTEP. Facilities are often part of campus continuous improvement plans. Other than Durham's donation, that had more to do with Durham attending UTEP - what the heck has Stull done?

Most people don't live in Mr. Rogers neighborhood like you Bobby. Winning may improve attendance, but with game prices already being low, I doubt fan support will increase with a few more wins in the winning column. Ticket prices have a tendency to increase with success, not go the other way. If ELP residents are not buying now when it's affordable, they surely won't do so later.

The AD is key to a program because he can posture a program to align with the right conferences, influence an institutions current conference, and generate much needed fund-raising with a good coach. Stull, while he has done an average job, hasn't transitioned UTEP athletics for the better. We've been losing for 40 years in football. What's changed?

I'll argue that the basketball program has taken measurable steps backward over the past 20 years as well. This is not the program of the 80s & 90s.

If Stull had the profile needed to ascend UTEP into a better conference, we'd be part of the MWC or new American 12 (or whatever the decide to call it going forward). A good AD is a politician first, & is far more important to an institution than a good coach. He/She is the one that puts resources in-place to succeed.

I ask again - what has Stull done that has comprehensively improved UTEP athletics? If anything, they are worse off, with little more than other UTEP teams had just 20 years ago. And, C-USA is weaker than the WAC used to be - we should be winning more.

It should be concerning. Institutions like S. Florida, UCF, & FIU have surpassed UTEP in comprehensive athletic prowess (success, facilites, athletes, etc.). Those programs didn't even exist until 10 to 15 years ago. They started at a considerable disadvantage, but a great AD elevated them above UTEP in as few as 10 years. None of the aforementioned paid much better.

The first line of success in an athletic department is the AD. Stull's a tired old man, isn't demanding of his coaches, and is really a poor administrator. Nice man, but he should go.

Perhaps that will happen when we get a college president that realizes athletics are a vital cog to an institution.

georgeofthedesert

Rick, I have to agree with you. The problems at UTEP are manifold, and Stull is not the answer. The school needs a new AD who is a go getter. Having said that, you face the same problem with a new AD that you face with the coaches. Low pay, andif he succeeds at UTEP, someone from a bigger school with more bucks is going to hire him. Nonetheless, it needs to be done. The school can't wait for Stull to retire, a la Price. Price may have killed the football program for good, which kills the possbility of moving to antoher conference. That is Stull's fault because he doesn't like to fire someone he hired. The answer is to fire Stull and hope that a young aggressive AD can tutn the athletic department around and move it in the right direction. Has anybody thought of Keitha Adams as AD?

Bob

How many cable games do you guys watch when it is of two unfamiliar teams.
May name is not posted as Bobby. Don't be condescending. You use no facts about Mr. Stull.
Kiss my rosey red one you little pimpp.

Bob

You guys know that UCF has over 59000 students. Those Florida schools are huge.
You guys are politicians. Blame someone else. We need to start here. You are not going to start on national tv.
Wish you knew what you were talking about.
Oklahoma has only 31000 students.
They sell out everything. They televise locally. They are successful because they have loyal fans.
We have whiners. UTEP has gained in stature under Dr. Natalicio. Shut up whieners. Buy a season ticket, show up and support the team. Get a good job so that you can afford a donor ticket.

Rick

Bob: I have spent a ton of time in the Orlando and Tampa since the 1990s. UCF was a pitiful campus until around 2000. Their enrollment was well under 30000 at that time.

Their community college feeder (Valencia) has about 100,000 students in their system. Most of those kids transfer to UCF for Fine Arts and Education.

As noted above - one of UCFs biggest degree programs is their Fine Arts department, so the majority of their support is the local community, and not the students - which explains their dismal game attendance. Not many artistic type students support their athletics since Disney is right there for work and play.

UCFs success just didn't happen. Like UTEP to UT, UCF is a subordinate university in the Florida university system. UCFs president and AD have made a considerable investment in their athletics programs, in excess of $100M. They don't receive any other favorable contributions from the state, so the Herculean portion of that monetary commitment came from an aggressive AD and administrations fund-raising.

Not only is Stull not in the UCF ADs zip code, he's six classes below him on the effort scale. Whatever UTEP pays Stull is too much - he's stealing money (figuratively speaking, not literally).

UCF will be on par with the likes of Texas & Alabama soon.

Now, one perk UCF does has over UTEP, is they have great athletes within 150 to 200 miles of their campus. But, they compete against the like of Miami, S. Florida and U. of Florida for those kids.

U. of Florida is a better athletic school than UT, which makes it all the more impressive that UCF is able to recruit and keep their local kids at home. Orlando and Tampa to Gainsville is only a 3 hour drive.

And, major BCS conferences recruit central and south Florida as heavy as Houston is recruited. In fact, Houston and Orlando put more kids into BCS football schools (per capita), than any other cities in the USA. The Miami (southern Florida) area is 3rd in that category.

Bob

Has UTEP improved under Bob Stull. Who owns the Sun Bowl now? When was the Durham Center built? When was the Foster Center Built? When was the new ticket office built? Those are a lot of major changes.
Florida has 18 million people They should draw some fans. Wouldn't you think?
If you want to support Florida crooked sports go ahead. Compared to Texas and Alabama UCF is a zero. Who cares about them anyway. 5000 fans? Zero.
Anyway UTEP has changed drastically under the current regimes. Academically and athletically.
Start at home. Do it right. Quit pretneding we are in trouble. The football program (bad as it is) is better than Bob Stull found it.
Don't forge Florida State.
Coach stull is in a different zip code than UCF. The one not on probation.

Chris

For those wanting Bob Stull fired, you obviously have a short memory of the yahoo ADs they had before him. Facilities have improved, and overall he has made good coaching hires. I don't understand why one of the local stations can make an agreement with UTEP to air road games.

Bob

Thanks Chris. You are exactly right. A lot has been done since Bob Stull took over.
The problem with televising games locally I think has to do with conference rules. Those rules don't fit anymore because we are losing big market schools. I believe that UTEP is pursuing a return to a local station broadcasting all away games.

Rick

Chris and Bob: Facility improvements are always a line-item in, or part of a college improvement plan. Every university in the USA addresses facility enhancement issues each fiscal calendar.

After a facility, building, or structure is depreciated over time, it behooves an institution to refurbish, or completely replace a building, so that tax benefits can be maximized. Therefore, the facilities erected under Stulls tenure would've been improved on, or replaced, regardless of who was AD.

The Durham center, as I noted, was gifted to the athletic program because of his past association with the school as an athlete. Mr. Durham would've gifted that money to UTEP, regardless of who was AD. He likely needed a big tax write-off that particular year, and was given advice to gift money to UTEP or another university. T. Boone Pickens does the same thing at Oklahoma St., as does Jerry Jones at the U. of Arkansas. It's a common practice for the wealthy.

Stull has performed tasks associated with the AD job well, and on an evaluation should be given marks of "MEETS JOB EXPECTATION"; HOWEVER, he's done nothing above and beyond to elevate the programs profile at the national level.

Would you agree that there's a problem when the old Big East conference is considering Creighton University over UTEP? Creighton's AD and president are well connected, which is why their brand is being elevated. That hasn't happened at Texas-El Paso.

Natalicio is a great leader, but she has poor taste in ADs. She and Stull share the same problem - they are loyal to a fault to their subordinates - even when they don't achieve. That's not the way the business world works, and college sports is exactly that - a business. Successful programs don't operate like UTEP, and that's a top-down philosophical (program culture) issue that needs to change ASAP.

A Fan


Bob makes a point about the number of students who attend UTEP and those in other schools. Certainly student population factors into the attendance equation, but maybe it's not as big a determining factor as you'd think, or at least number of students has to be considered only partially. There are other factors as well. Income versus price of tickets. Competition from other attractions (example of Disneyland in Orlando comes to mind). Competition from other universities, like FSU and Florida for Orlando dollars might exist. Add the type of student who attends, that would make a difference; if you have older students, those with families and jobs, you're likely to see less of them in the stadium. Commuter schools probably fare less well than schools where most of the students reside on campus. Then you add effectiveness of marketing by administration, or lack thereof. Also add things like ease of parking, transportation (busses, rail), and nearness of restaurants and other services. A lot can go into how well a team draws.

Oklahoma University was mentioned as an example. One of the differences between UTEP and Oklahoma is that OU brings some pretty heavy duty programs to the Lloyd Nolan Center...Texas, OSU, Baylor, Tech, Kansas...almost all of these schools are located within three or four hours driving distance for their fans. You have to know that UT fans are going to be gagging for tickets for a game in Norman.

For UTEP, we have one team that's close enough for our fans to drive to, and that's NMSU, which is about as far as Norman is from Stillwater. When we play the Aggies, we get their fans and our fans. No other team on our schedule even comes close to drawing the number of fans of the other team. For OU, more than half of the their conference games are against teams who can bring a boat load of fans.

There is another draw that OU has the UTEP doesn't, and that's a championship-level football team. Success of the kind that OU enjoys bleeds over to their other sports in all kind of ways, including funding, which their athletic department is in the black, while UTEP, NMSU, and about 90% of all other universities' programs operate in the red. This means better funding, better marketing, and generally better attendance across the board.

The composition of the fan base, student versus non student, should be part of the equation. Most of UTEP's fans are not students, contrary to popular belief. Most of Texas A&M's fans are students.

To top it off, we should consider the program's history, and I mean recent history, last 15-20 years. 1966, while a great year, was almost 50 years ago. That's at least 3 generations of fans who didn't experience the ultimate in winning. For those younger, that history is for the old folks; it's history that the gray haired crowd loves to relive. Youngsters, not so much. The truth is, UTEP isn't a winning program, at least in recent history. This impacts attendance a bunch.

If you don't win, and don't have recent tradition or advantages of great football or wealthy general population, well, you aren't going to get fans, regardless of whatever birdbrained TV schemes you come up with.

Bob

Fan - You are wrong as can be. The Durham was not proposed by the university. Where do you get your information. Mr. Durham pledged to match whatever funds the university raised from other donors. How much would have been raised and would we have the same quality center?
What are you talking about improved or replaced. Only the ticket center was replaced. I met Mr. Durham at the time the center was being built. You are an insulting boor.
You are just being contrary. You have no idea what you are talking about.

Bob

Sorry Fan - I was responding to Rick.
As for your comment I was referring to local tv. We need it. It will increase our fan base drastically. That is part of what Joe's blog is about. I can't believe that I agree with him because I usally don't.
We went to the NCAA tournement under Billy and Doc. We also went under Tony. Remember the Butler game?
These are really examples of why not to hire the hungry climbers. They leave on the first stage outa Dodge. Looks like they all failed or are failing.
I bleive that our fan base has always been the community. We do need the noise and passion provided by the maniac section.
Oh, yeah - kiss the end of me opposite my brain - CHUMP!!

RJ

So apparently this turned into a bash Stull thread so allow me to pile on...I think every conversation about Stull begins and ends with him reportedly passing on the MWC to stay aligned with the Texas schools...how did that work out for us?

Rick

Bob: I can't explain something you intellectually can't grasp. I apologize for speaking over your head. I'd use Legos or an Etcho-Sketch if I knew you.

You're a taxing (figurative, not literal) individual whose comprehension skills are lacking. Again I apologize - and as they say in the south - bless your heart.

Rick

Bob: And for clarity sakes, when you want me to kiss you opposite your brain, I'm assuming you want to be kissed on the forehead? With the rhetoric you spew, your brain appears to be in your gluts.

Bob

I apologize for commenting on your birdbrained, irrational, sophomoric posts. I feel sorry for you and pray for your recovery.

A Fan

Bob,

I understand local TV is nice, but it sure hasn't worked up Las Cruces' way where a lot of their games are televised. Certainly all of their home games. There are times when their games end on one of the ESPN or Fox channels only to be replayed on Comcast at 9 or 10 p.m. I don't see them drawing to fill the Pan Am.

I meant no offense when I said birdbrained scheme. The "you" was aimed generally at those who are in position to provide television and not "Bob" the blogger.

Bob

Rick - please respong to posts directed at you, not fan but you may kiss my rosey red one.
RJ - we never passed on Mountain West - period.
Please check and see how UTEP came to own the Sun Bowl. It was built by the county.
Rick you just skip from one thing to another.

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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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