UTEP hires Warner as next offensive coordinator


EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – UTEP has a new offensive coordinator, and it’s an old friend of head coach Dana Dimel.

The Miners announced the hiring of former Michigan State staffer Dave Warner as its new offensive coordinator on Friday afternoon, one month after parting ways with Mike Canales after three seasons.

Warner has 36 years of college football coaching experience, and was on Mark Dantonio’s staff at Michigan State from 2007-2019, and was the offensive coordinator from 2013-2018. In his final season with the Spartans, he served as the quarterback coach, and was also the QB coach from 2007-2012.

Warner and Dimel have worked together previously at two different schools. When Dimel was the head coach at Wyoming, was the passing game coordinator in 1998. After Dimel got the head coaching gig at the University of Houston, Warner followed him there as the pass game coordinator and quarterback coach in 2001 and 2002.

“Dave is going to be a great communicator for our offense and quarterbacks,” Dimel said. “He brings a ton of experience to our football program as offensive coordinator. He did a tremendous job at Michigan State for so many years and was such a huge help in our time together coaching at previous stops. He will be a great addition to the staff helping progress the program to where we want to be.”

Warner will have some talent to work with at UTEP. Quarterback Gavin Hardison showed flashes of brilliance in his first year as a starter in 2020, throwing for 1,419 yards, 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Running back Deion Hankins was perhaps UTEP’s most talented player, rushing for nearly 600 yards and 9 touchdowns, and Jacob Cowing returns to lead a Miners receiving corps after catching 41 passes for 691 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2020.

Warner directed the most prolific offense in Michigan State history in 2014, as the Spartans finished 7th in the nation in total offense and set numerous school records, including points (559), scoring average (43.0 ppg.), offensive touchdowns (70), total offense (6,510 yards; 500.8 ypg.), rushing touchdowns (44), rushing yards (3,057) and first downs (321).

After 2014, though, the Spartans’ offensive output decreased dramatically. They finished 60th in the nation in total offense in 2015, despite making the College Football Playoff that season. In Warner’s final three seasons as the offensive coordinator, Michigan State finished no better than 96th nationally, and he was demoted in 2018 after the Spartans were 110th (out of 130 teams) in total offense.

Warner starred at quarterback at Syracuse and has also spent time as a coach at Cincinnati, Southern Miss, Houston, UConn, Bucknell, Kansas, and Kent State.

Warner has coached in 16 bowl games, including victories in the 2014 Rose Bowl over No. 5 Stanford and the 2015 Cotton Bowl against No. 4 Baylor, in addition to an appearance in the 2015 College Football Playoff.

UTEP is also on the hunt for a defensive coordinator after also parting ways with Mike Cox after three years in December.

Zach Barnett of Football Scoop reported on Thursday that Bradley Dale Peveto is expected to be named the Miners new defensive coordinator. UTEP has not yet confirmed the hire.

UTEP officials said that an announcement regarding the hiring of a new defensive coordinator would likely come next week.

If UTEP hires Peveto, it could be a good pick-up for the Miners. Peveto has over 30 years of college football coaching experience at multiple universities, in a variety of roles. Most recently, he coached the linebackers at Texas A&M from 2018 to 2019. From 1999 to 2002, he was the defensive coordinator at Houston, when Dimel was the head coach for the Cougars.

The potential new leader of the UTEP defense was the head coach at Northwestern State from 2009-2012, compiling a record of 14-30 at the FCS level, before returning to FBS football as an assistant.

Peveto has experienced success as an assistant coach. From 2005 to 2008, he served in a variety of roles at LSU, and was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach for the Tigers in 2007 when LSU won the national championship.

Whoever gets the defensive coordinator gig will be charged with shoring up a Miners defense that allowed 31 points per game in 2020, and forced just eight turnovers in eight games. The Miners have talent, particularly along the defensive line and in the secondary.

UTEP is 5-27 in three seasons under Dimel.

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