After a nine year run as the UTEP head football coach, Mike Price has decided to retire following the seasons end. In his regularly Monday morning media press conference, Price thanked his assistant coaches, athletic director Bob Stull, UTEP president Dr. Diana Natalicio, and the city of El Paso with its fans.
Who's in line to replace Price next year? Defensive coordinator Andre Patterson has a good head start as Price has his full stamp of approval, “I'm 100 percent behind Andre Patterson to succeed me.” Price said. Patterson has been with the Miners for the last three years as a defensive coordinator. So far this season his defense has allowed 29.5 points a game but for the most part, they have been competitive and kept the team in winnable games.
The lone person that will be making the decision on hiring a new coach is Bob Stull. Stull likes to lean toward head coaching experience for a hire. "I think head coaching experience is good,"Stull said. "If you can find someone with head coaching experience you know what you're getting, there's no secret. You know his record, how he is with the media, and how he has recruited."
Patterson has head coaching experience on his resume. He was the head coach for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from 1994-96. In his tenure there he led Cal Poly to a league title and was named American West Conference Coach of the Year in 1994.
Players are still focusing on this season and looking to ending it on a good note, starting quarterback Blair Sullivan says. "All in all it happened the way it did and we can't really go back in time right now we just need to look forward to the next step." And it doesn't matter who that next head coach will be as backup quarterback Carson Meger states, “we're going to play hard for whoever comes in and takes that spot.”
But so far Patterson looks to be the first man Stull would take a look at, answering about if he wants to be a full part of the Miners tradition for years to come, Patterson said, “Well I would love to stay here, my family loves it here, I've had opportunities since I've been here the last three years to go back to the NFL but I chose to stay.”
He'll see if the wait was worth it.