If you spend time around UTEP football coach Dana Dimel, you would never know that his team has won just one game in the last two years. He has an outgoing personality and a friendly approach to fans and media – traits reminiscent of Mike Price, the beloved former UTEP head coach.
Now preparing for his second season with the Miners, Dimel arrived in El Paso after spending the last nine seasons with Kansas State, including seven as offensive coordinator.
El Paso Inc. Magazine invited Dimel, 56, for a ride on the El Paso streetcar to chat about coming to El Paso, rebuilding UTEP football – and his fur babies.
WHY HAS UTEP NOT BEEN A CONSISTENT WINNER IN FOOTBALL?
The major thing is the evaluation of your talent – being able to get the right players to come fit your program. We feel like that’s where we can make our niché.
IS IT TOUGH TO PUT A NUMBER ON WINS IN THE MIDDLE OF A REBUILD?
I don’t think we’re motivated by wins at all. I think for us, it’s just the quality of play and how much improvement we can show.
DO YOU BELIEVE YOU’LL HAVE TIME TO BUILD THE PROGRAM?
That’s the challenge here. We are trying to build something special, and it’s going to take time because obviously the success hasn’t been here in recent years. It was important to me to understand – and (UTEP Director of Athletics) Jim Senter knows – how long it takes to build a program.
DOES DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION HELP YOUR RECRUITING EFFORTS?
I think the new rules that allow us to bring parents on trips and pay for them only helps. Once the parents get to see El Paso – and see how neat of a place it is to live, how many fun things there are to do, and how progressive it is — I think people are pleasantly surprised.
HOW IS IT RIDING THE STREETCAR FOR THE FIRST TIME?
You know, I’d heard about it, but hadn’t had a chance to get out here and take it all in. But, what a nice thing for the community.
WHAT’S THE ONE THING ABOUT YOU NOBODY KNOWS?
There’s plenty (laughing). I was a huge Atlanta Braves fan growing up – and a big baseball fan. I actually named two of my Bull Terriers who were very dear to me Hammer and Hank.
Visit elpasoinc.com for the full Q&A with UTEP coach Dana Dimel.