Greg Tepper's Blog
UTEP taps Kugler as head coach
Posted by Greg Tepper on 10 December 2012

Buried in the understandable hubbub of Johnny Manziel's Heisman win, UTEP filled its coaching vacancy on Sunday by hiring a familiar-yet-unfamiliar name: Sean Kugler.

If you don't know who coach Kugler is, don't worry: most don't. But the Miners made a splash with this hire, and it could vault them into the next era.

Kugler comes to UTEP from the PIttsburgh Steelers, where he served as the offensive line coach for the last two seasons. But while the 46-year-old Kugler has been in the NFL since 2007, he has deep UTEP ties.

Kugler was an offensive linemen for the Miners back in 1984-1988, where his coach was Bob Stull, who is now UTEP's athletic director. After a brief professional career cut short by injuries, he moved into coaching, first in the high school ranks before returning to his alma mater to coach the Miners' offensive line from 1993 to 2000.

He was plucked by the Detroit Lions to coach their tight ends and offensive line and, aside from a one-year stint at Boise State, has spent the past decade in the NFL.

Call it a homecoming.

The praise runs rampant for Kugler, and not just from the UTEP brass. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Boise State coach Chris Petersen have both taken time to praise Kugler.

The New York native takes over a program that has missed a bowl six of the last seven years, and is in need of a renaissance. And while coach Mike Price was a big name and did an admirable job at the helm of the Miners, one can't help but wonder if a true native son -- someone who understands and has deep ties to UTEP -- is the guy to turn the Miners around.

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