UTEP, Dimel talking contract extension following bowl game appearance


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Following UTEP’s 31-24 loss to Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl, it’s only natural to look ahead and what’s next for the Miners. Their head coach, Dana Dimel, could be looking at a contract extension in the near future.

It was UTEP’s first bowl appearance since 2014, and despite the loss, it appears there is a lot of forward momentum for a program that went 0-12 before Dimel arrived in El Paso. UTEP went 1-11 in his first two years as the head coach, a 3-5 mark in a pandemic-shortened season in 2020, followed by the Miners’ first winning season in seven years in 2021.

It begs the question if a 7-6 (4-4 in Conference USA) season with a bowl appearance is enough for UTEP Director of Athletics, Jim Senter, to offer him an extension before Dimel enters the final year of his original five-year deal.

“Dana Dimel has been a godsend. He really has. He has done a terrific job, and I’m so proud of him and his staff,” said Senter. “We need to get to the point where not going to a bowl game is the exception. Every year we want to play for a bowl game, we are relevant in November and playing for something in December. That’s where this program should be, and that’s where we want to get it to.”

UTEP started the season 6-1, but faltered down the stretch with a 1-5 finish to the year. However, Dimel has created a lot of positive energy around a football program that doesn’t have much history of success. According to Dimel, he and Senter have had discussions about extending his contract, which is set to expire following the 2022 season.

“Jim and I have a great relationship, and we are just trying to figure out the best things to do for the program,” said Dimel. “It’s a conversation that has been on-going.”

Dimel has signed eight recruits during the early signing period, which began last week. In order for him to continue to build on a successful season, he feels like it is imperative for Senter and the athletic department to extend his deal in order to show recruits program stability.

“I’ve had recruits come to me and say, ‘coach, other programs are saying that you aren’t going to stay at UTEP.’ I think an extension is going to help fortify that, and what my intensions are. We are excited about that,” said Dimel.

Dimel’s current annual salary is $748,966, which ranks 105th out of 122 coaches listed by USA Today. Dimel is also the lowest-paid coach among all Conference USA head coaches, and he took a COVID-19 pandemic pay cut of $41,533 in 2020.

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