Golding finalizes first UTEP coaching staff; former NBA player Earl Boykins to serve as Miners assistant


EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – New UTEP men’s basketball coach Joe Golding officially finalized his first Miners coaching staff for the 2021-22 season on Monday.

The staff includes three coaches that had been previously reported by KTSM to be joining Golding in El Paso; associate head coach Jeremy Cox; assistant coach Butch Pierre and chief of staff Bryen Spriggs.

Added to Golding’s initial Miners staff on Monday was a big splash, as former NBA player Earl Boykins will serve as an assistant coach. Rounding out the staff are director of recruiting and player development Khristian Smith, and director of basketball operations Caleb Villarreal.

Boykins played in the NBA from 1999 to 2012 for 10 different teams and at 5’5 is the second-shortest player in league history. He had career averages of 8.9 points and 3.2 assists per game and was a spark plug off the bench in the mid-2000s for a solid Denver Nuggets team that made multiple trips to the playoffs.

Since his retirement, Boykins has been a high school coach, and most recently, was serving as the director of student-athlete development at Arkansas from 2019 to 2021.

“Earl has played at the level our players aspire to be at one day,” Golding said. “He has so much experience and I can’t wait for him to share it with our players. He understands the game of basketball and the different ways it can be played. He will be such a great asset for our program on the floor and with recruits.”

KTSM previously reported that Cox would join Golding in El Paso back in April. Most recently the associate head coach at Stephen F. Austin, Cox is a great recruiter that helped take the Lumberjacks to the NCAA Tournament. He also had stints in Power-5 conferences like the Big 12, SEC, Big East and Big Ten.

“I’m very fortunate to have Jeremy as my associate head coach. He was one of the first phone calls I made after accepting the job and he was on a plane a few days later,” Golding said. “He has coached and won at every level in college basketball for some of the best coaches in our game. I have had the opportunity to compete against him the last few years and know how good his is. He can do it all but what I like about him the most is how much he cares about his players. I feel he is one of the best coaches in the country and our players will benefit the most from him being here at UTEP.”

brings over 30 years of experience as a head coach and assistant. Pierre has recruited some of the top classes in college basketball. He’s tutored 16 student-athletes who’ve made it to the NBA. His classes have also yielded nine conference championships, 12 NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 appearance, and three NIT appearances.

“Butch is one of the premier recruiters and coaches in college basketball. What I appreciate about him the most is how loyal he has been to his former players and coaches that he has worked for,” said Golding. “He has great energy about him that is contagious to everyone in our program. He has so much knowledge and experience and I can’t wait for him to share it with our players and program.”

Spriggs was also reported by KTSM to be joining Golding at UTEP back in April. He was with Golding during his time at Abilene Christian, and has been on hand in El Paso for most of the last two months.

Smith most recently served as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech on then-head coach Chris Beard’s staff for two seasons (2019-21). In that time, he helped the Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament.

Villarreal comes to UTEP with well over a decade in the coaching ranks. Most recently, Villarreal served as an assistant coach with the men’s program at Prairie View A&M University on Bryon Smith’s staff during the 2020-21 season.

The Miners have yet to release a schedule for the 2021-22 season.

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