EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – When Rodney Terry left UTEP to be an assistant coach at Texas, Joe Golding was always at the top of the Miners’ list to replace him.
As it turns out, the Miners were always at the top of Golding’s list, too.
The man who transformed a struggling NCAA Division II Abilene Christian team into a formidable Division I squad that beat Texas in the first round the 2021 NCAA Tournament, sources told KTSM that from the moment the UTEP job came open, Golding wanted it.
That passion and energy for the Miners, as well as the city of El Paso, was on full display at his introductory press conference on Wednesday. It’s how he coaches his teams, too, making him a perfect fit for UTEP.
“Joe Golding and his family will be involved in this community just like his players will be involved. You’ll see us everywhere,” Golding said. “I was born and raised in west Texas. It’s home to me. The fit is really good.”
He’s been on the job less than 24 hours, but Golding already endeared himself to the community, offering to buy El Paso breakfast at Lucy’s Cafe on Thursday morning.
UTEP President Heather Wilson reciprocated that warm, family vibe as she spoke directly to Golding’s two sons Cason and Chase during the press conference.
“I want you to know that we’re so glad that you and your dad and your mom are here to be part of El Paso,” Wilson said. “I had to move my kids to different places, and I know sometimes that’s hard, even if you want to do it. But we’re so glad you’re here.”
Golding told the gathered crowd at the Don Haskins Center that former UTEP head coach Tim Floyd was the first person to gauge his interest in the opening the Miners had, to which he immediately said he’d be up for the challenge.
The same passion and energy he already has for the Sun City is what has made Golding such a successful program builder.
“During the interview process, I asked him what he does to unwind. He said ‘drink red bull and eat snickers,'” said UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter. He’s going to bring energy to our fan base and I’m excited about it.”
Golding built ACU from the ground floor into a March Madness winner. UTEP has already been built; now, Golding is here to bring it back to prominence.
“When you invest in a community and let people inside and get students involved, these seats will get filled,” Golding said.
Golding understands well the history of the UTEP basketball program; now, he’s ready to not only be a part of it, but build on it.