EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Where there’s smoke, there could be fire.
Rumors have been flying the last few days that UTEP head coach Rodney Terry could leave his post with the Miners to be an assistant coach at Texas under his good friend Chris Beard, who was hired by the Longhorns from Texas Tech earlier this week.
Sources have told KTSM that Terry is indeed a candidate for the position with the Longhorns, but as of Monday night, no decision had been made either way. KTSM has reached out to Terry, but he has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Terry has been a head coach at the Division I level for 10 seasons now, just wrapping up his third year in El Paso, as UTEP went 12-12 in 2020-21.
His friendship with Beard, his head coaching experience, plus his ties to Texas are what makes him a prime candidate to potentially become a part of the staff Beard is building. According to multiple reports, Beard has already filled two of the three assistant coach openings with UT-Arlington head coach Chris Ogden, and Texas Tech assistant Ulric Maligi. Ogden is also a close friend of Terry’s as they coached together at Texas for four seasons.
Terry was an assistant at Texas from 2002 to 2011 under Rick Barnes, helping the Longhorns to the 2003 Final 4. He was tasked with recruiting a large portion of Texas’ players, and played an integral role in getting LaMarcus Aldridge to campus.
However, why would Terry potentially leave UTEP for what is, in effect, a demotion in title from head coach to assistant coach? There are arguments on both sides.
There is, of course, his prior relationships with Beard and Ogden, plus he’s always shown interest in getting back to Austin, or at least closer to his hometown of Angleton, Texas.
With the Miners having an up-and-down 2021 season, perhaps Terry takes this opportunity to leave now to be an assistant under one of the top coaches in the country, and in doing so betting on the odds that Texas succeeds. If they do, in a couple of years it could skyrocket him to a head coaching job at a bigger school.
However, having already proven he can win as a head coach (163-156 in 10 seasons at Fresno State and UTEP), Terry could easily decide to stay with the Miners and continue building on what is a good foundation at the Don Haskins Center.
Additionally, there are only so many head coaching jobs in college hoops; if Terry leaves the Miners as a sitting head coach, there’s no guarantee he’ll get a head coaching job again.
Terry received a 1-year contract extension from UTEP in February that would keep him in El Paso until 2024 and pays him $725,000 per season, plus incentives (in 2020-21, Terry made $530,999 due to COVID-19 pandemic budget cuts).
Texas gave Beard a reported 7-year contract worth $35 million, and could likely match or exceed Terry’s UTEP salary to be one of Beard’s assistants, should he choose that path.
If he does end up with the Longhorns, Texas would have to pay Terry’s $500,000 contract buyout in full within 30 days of him leaving UTEP.