EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Baylor football named Jeff Grimes its new offensive coordinator on Monday, after Grimes spent the last three seasons building BYU’s attack in a formidable force.
In 2020, the Cougars ranked third in the nation in offensive production, and Grimes was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant.
He’s made 11 stops as a college football coach, including at Arizona State, Auburn, Colorado, LSU and Virginia Tech. However, Grimes got his start here in El Paso, playing as an offensive lineman for UTEP from 1987-1990. While with the Miners, Grimes was a part of arguably the best team in UTEP history, the 1988 squad that went 10-3 and earned a trip to the Independence Bowl.
At UTEP, Grimes was tutored by head coach Bob Stull, as well as then-Miners offensive line coach Andy Reid (who went on to win Super Bowl LIV as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs); offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter; quarterback coach Marty Mornhinweg; and strength and conditioning coach Dave Toub. All four men went on to long NFL coaching careers.
When his playing days were over, Grimes got his first coaching gig as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Riverside High School in El Paso from 1993 to 1994. One of the players on those two teams: current Eastlake High School head football coach Ruben Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was a wide receiver for Grimes’ pro style attack those two years, as the Rangers finished second in the district both seasons. Coach Rod has fond memories of his time playing for Grimes.
“He was a guy that really cared about the kids that he coached and the kids that were in the program,” Rodriguez said. “That’s something that always stuck with me, is to try to build those player relationships, and try to get the kids to overachieve and play beyond their potential. We gravitated to him and I attribute a lot of our success to the energy he brought.”
Rodriguez told KTSM that he could tell even at Riverside that Grimes had the potential to have a long coaching career at the college level, which was a goal of his.
“He had a plan for himself. Fresh out of the NFL, coming off playing for the Raiders, his plan was to move up the ranks and he had it all lined up with a lot of good connections,” Rodriguez said. “More importantly, though, it was his work ethic. He was so into technique. He taught his guys to step six inches and not a quarter of inch more. He got his guys to overachieve and that’s a big reason why we were successful at Riverside.”
Grimes wasn’t the only future coaching star on that Riverside staff. Chuck Veliz, who spent time at UTEP as well as multiple El Paso high schools; and Kirk Martin, who played for two state championships with Manvel High School in Houston and also spent time at Syracuse, were also on that staff. Martin, now the head coach at Colleyville Heritage, is also a graduate of UTEP and got his coaching start at Cathedral High School.
The plan has worked out for Grimes, and he even won the 2010 national championship as the offensive line coach at Auburn. He always has time for his former pupil at Riverside; Rodriguez say the two text throughout the season every year.
“I’m happy for him now at Baylor, he’s a little bit closer to us so maybe we can visit with him and pick his brain a little bit more,” Rodriguez said.