EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — They don’t hand out NCAA Tournament berths for winning introductory press conferences, but it can’t be understated enough — new UTEP men’s basketball head coach Joe Golding made quite the first impression with Miner faithful when he was formally introduced in a press conference at the Don Haskins Center on Wednesday.
Golding becoming the 20th men’s basketball coach in program history.
The hire was made official on Tuesday night by director of athletics Jim Senter and Golding made his way to El Paso from Abilene on Wednesday morning. This coming after a weekend’s worth of interviews conducted by Senter and UTEP president Dr. Heather Wilson along with four other finalists in Dallas.
Golding’s name was at the top of their list when the job became available eight days ago after former head coach, Rodney Terry, stepped down to become an assistant coach at Texas under Chris Beard. Even further, UTEP was at the top of Golding’s list as well.
“This place has history, this place has tradition, this place knows how to win and it’s ready to win,” said Golding. “I believe every institution and every program can be built to win a different way. I didn’t come to UTEP to spend 10 years in building this program. This program has already been built. My job at UTEP is to win in year one.”
Golding, 45, has spent the past 10 years building the Wildcats’ program from the ground up. He helped transition ACU from Division II to Division I in the Southland Conference. Golding went 155-144 as the head coach, including a 24-5 mark this past season at his alma mater. ACU made two NCAA Tournament appearances and posted three consecutive 20-win seasons in Golding’s final three years as the head coach.
The Wildcats beat Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this past season, which sparked a series of events that led to Golding getting the gig at UTEP. Former Texas head coach Shaka Smart bolted to become the head coach at Marquette, Beard left Texas Tech to take the Texas job, Terry stepped down at UTEP to join Beard at Texas, paving the way to the Sun City for Golding.
“We found a niche for us that worked at Abilene Christian. We recruited to that model and we played to that model, but UTEP is a different deal,” said Golding. “We are going to recruit the best players and then we’ll figure out what they do best on both sides of the floor. At the end of the day, the main objective is to win and win the right way. We’re not in bed with anything in terms of how we are going to do offense and how we are going to do defense.”
Golding, a native of Midland, has signed an offer letter, but the details of his contract are still being finalized. According to Senter, Golding will make a “competitive” salary that is comparable to what Terry was making pre-pandemic ($725k annually). The term of the contract is five years.
“We were very please that he [Golding] wanted this job as much as we wanted him and we could put it all together,” said Senter. “He’s a high energy guy and he’s going to bring energy to this arena and our fanbase.”
It was a splash hire for UTEP and everyone associated within the Miners athletic department, but now it’s time to get to work. Golding will look to restore a once prominent program at UTEP that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2010. The Miners haven’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 1992 when they made a run to the Sweet 16.
His first order of business is to retool UTEP’s roster that currently has four players from their 2020-21 roster in the transfer portal.
“Player meetings started today. I think everyone knows the world we’re living in with the transfer portal. College basketball changed two or three weeks ago,” said Golding. “Right now, it can help us as we continue to recruit and fill this roster. A year from now it might hurt us if guys choose to leave. We could be on both sides of that.”
He’s a man on a mission to not only restore the program, but get the community involved with it. Golding is hitting the ground running in that regard by sending an open invitation to fans to meet him for breakfast at Lucy’s Cafe on Thursday morning.
Joe Golding won the press conference. Now he’ll look to win basketball games.
You can watch Joe Golding’s press conference in its entirety here: