The coach hiring frenzy in college football has hit pretty much impacted every conference, as it does most years. While the carousel has hit the SEC, with six schools looking for new coaches (Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M) the hardest, it’s hard to find a conference left unscathed from one of the most chaotic hiring cycles of recent memory. Despite all the attrition elsewhere, the Big 12, surprisingly, hadn’t yet felt the chaos, as all ten head coaches are set to return next season, and to this point, there had been no coordinator hiring or firing.
— UTEP Football (@UTEPFB) December 6, 2017
That changed today, as former Kansas State offensive coordinator Dana Dimel accepted the head coaching job at UTEP. UTEP relieved former head coach Sean Kugler of his position on October 1st, after an 0-5 start to the year (the Miners would finish 0-12), and hired Mike Price as the interim head coach. Kugler coached at his alma mater since the 2013 season, and put up an 18-36 record in four and a half seasons. His best season came in 2014, when the Miners went 7-6. Kugler will likely head back to the NFL next season.
The 55-year-old Dimel spent the past eight seasons in Manhattan as offensive coordinator under Bill Snyder, and has spent much of his life in the program, either as a player, or a coach. This will not be Dana’s first run as a head coach in college football, as he put up an impressive 22-13 record at Wyoming from 1997-1999. but struggled greatly in three years at Houston, going just 8-26 before being fired, and leaving coaching for three seasons. Under Dimel, Kansas State’s offenses have ranked 45th in points per game on average.
Kansas State will likely look to hire from within, either by promoting passing game coordinator Andre Coleman or rushing game coordinator Charlie Dickey. Quarterbacks coach (and former Heisman candidate) Collin Klein is also likely in for a promotion, especially if Coleman gets the job. Memphis offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey is also a name to watch. Dickey played quarterback for the Wildcats in the early 80s.
Dimel will coach his final game for Kansas State against UCLA in the Cactus Bowl on December 26th.