EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The University of Texas Board of Regents officially approved the contract extensions for UTEP football coach Dana Dimel and volleyball coach Ben Wallis in a meeting on Thursday.
Dimel’s original contract with the Miners was set to expire at the end of the 2022 season. He received a two-year extension through the 2024 season that also gave him a pay raise.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to lead the UTEP football program as we annually strive to achieve bowl eligibility and compete for championships,” Dimel said in a statement released by the school on Thursday.
UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter told KTSM that Dimel’s salary will be increased to $800,000 in 2022; in 2023, he’ll make $825,000; and in 2024, UTEP will pay Dimel $850,000. He’s also entitled to many of the same incentive bonuses that were in his original contract. Dimel made $748,966 during the 2021 season.
“We’re really excited about what he’s done and where he’s at and it’s a big vote of confidence in where we believe we’re at today and what he accomplished in year four and where we believe we’re headed in the future,” said Senter.
One big incentive that has been included in Dimel’s extension: If UTEP makes a bowl game or wins a Conference USA championship during the two extension years (2023 and 2024), Dimel’s contract will automatically renew for another year. 2022 does not apply to that incentive, because it is still part of the original contract Dimel signed, according to Senter.
Dimel can also earn additional compensation for leading the UTEP football team to a Conference USA championship, a bowl game, and wins over Power Five opponents. His contract also includes performance incentives for being named Conference USA Coach of the Year, for every season with seven wins or more, and for team academic excellence.
UTEP is coming off of its first bowl appearance since 2014 in 2021 under Dimel, who led the Miners to a 7-6 finish. This extension is a reward for the work Dimel did in his first four seasons on the job to rebuild the UTEP program, after he took over an 0-12 unit in 2017.
“We were really pleased with the progress we made and we felt like about two-thirds of the way through the (2021) season that we needed to be working on an extension for Coach,” said Senter.
While Senter thought it was important to extend Dimel’s contract as a nod to the work he did to rebuild the program, he also acknowledged that 2021 was just one season. Therefore, that played a role in UTEP handing Dimel a two-year extension, as opposed to a longer new deal.
“We just felt like that was a good barometer, to be able to show that if we can have another couple of good years, we’ll be right back at the table trying to do a longer-term contract,” added Senter. “And, I certainly hope that’s the case, that’s what I’m keeping my fingers crossed for.”
As for UTEP volleyball coach Ben Wallis, his contract was extended to keep him in El Paso through 2027. He had two years left on his initial deal; this contract added three more to the end of it.
Wallis is taking on bigger responsibilities with the addition of the beach volleyball program at UTEP; he will be the head coach of both the beach and indoor teams. Therefore, Senter and UTEP made sure to give him a raise to reflect that.
Wallis’s salary will jump to $125,000 in 2022, up from the $90,000 he made previously. Senter told KTSM that that salary number makes Wallis one of the three highest-paid coaches in Conference USA.
His extension and raise comes on the heels of the best season in UTEP volleyball history, in which the Miners went 24-8 (a program record) and played in the postseason for the first time ever, advancing to the final four of the NIVC Tournament.
“I think he’s recognized around the country as someone who’s going places. He has done an amazing job building this program in a very short period of time,” said Senter. “We want Ben to stay and we’re really excited that we could offer him the kind of money that would get him to stay here, as well as reward him for the great job he’s done.”
Wallis’ incentive bonuses are largely the same; however, UTEP included a bonus for making the NIVC Tournament, in addition to making the NCAA Tournament.
He told KTSM on Thursday that while he had a lot of interest from other programs around the nation and could have left UTEP, he’s instead committed to continuing to build the Miners program.
“I want to have longevity here and I want to grow this program here. I want our recruits to know that we’re here for the long haul. We want to build a conference champion here and I’m not going anywhere,” Wallis said.
Senter did not have buyout information for either coach available on Thursday; KTSM has filed requests for the full contracts for both Dimel and Wallis and will publish them when they are available.