The transfer portal’s opening on Dec. 4, as well as the popularity of the early signing period, creates an artificial deadline for coaching searches in modern college football. Texas A&M already fired and hired a new coach (two of them, actually, depending on who you ask) in this round of the coaching carousel. Houston is likely to land their man by Sunday at the latest. Baylor hired an offensive coordinator on Thursday.
Another head coaching spot open in Texas is in El Paso. Dana Dimel was relieved of his duties with a 20-49 record in six seasons in charge of the Miners. Sources tell Dave Campbell’s that the vetting and interview process began in earnest this week and that UTEP wants to have a person in place by that Dec. 4 date.
Sources also tell us that the Miners are down to a handful of candidates. Here are the names we’re hearing in the rumor mill amongst other coaches. UTEP didn't hire an outside search firm to hire its next coach and the Miners brass have played this one close to the vest. It would not shock us for the Miners to pull a suprise and go completely off the board. We're told familiar faces to UTEP such as Jeff Grimes and Mack Leftwich are not currently in contention. Bigger names such as Jeff Banks appear out of UTEP's price range.
UPDATED 3:41 P.M. ON DEC. 1.
SOURCES SAY UTEP IS DOWN TO FOUR CANDIDATES WITH INTERVIEWS TAKING PLACE FRIDAY AND SATURDAY WITH A HIRE EXPECTED BY SUNDAY OR EARLY NEXT WEEK.
Brennan Marion – The current UNLV offensive coordinator is one of the up-and-comers in the coaching business. His Go-Go offense has helped the Rebels reach the Mountain West Conference championship game in year one under Barry Odom. Marion was the wide receiver coach at Texas in 2022 and Pittsburgh in 2021. Marion, 36, was a star wide receiver at Tulsa. He’d be his own coordinator (which saves money) and wants a chance to become a first-time collegiate head coach. He was a high school coach early in his career.
Scotty Walden – A Cleburne, Texas native who graduated from Sul Ross after stops as Dordt and Hardin-Simmons, Walden is a respected head coach and offensive mind who is currently the head coach at Austin Peay. He’s 34-20 as a head coach in college, including a 16-7 mark in two seasons at Peay. He was the interim head coach at Southern Miss in 2020 and led East Texas Baptist in 2016. Walden (34) fits the profile of young and offensive-minded. He’s also experienced doing more with less at each of his stops.
Kenny Perry – If UTEP wants to follow the Texas Tech and UTSA routes of success, Perry should be atop the list. He is a former Texas high school football coach with major college experience. He’s also a ball of energy who’d crush it in fundraising and hype-building across El Paso and the borderland region. He’s currently the special teams coach at Texas Tech and is Joey McGuire’s right-hand man. Sources say he’s interviewed for the job.
Eric Price – UTEP fans know and respect the Price name. Sources say some boosters are pushing to bring the oldest son of Mike Price back to El Paso to lead the Miners. Mike Price oversaw UTEP from 2004 through 2012, winning eight games twice. He returned to help UTEP during a disastrous 2017 season. Eric, his oldest, played wide receiver at Weber State and was the offensive coordinator at UTEP, Alabama, Memphis, and Tulane in his career. He also coached in the NFL for the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Kansas City Chiefs. He obviously has familiarity with the lay of the land at UTEP and credibility with the decision makers, fan base.
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