UTEP coaching search – potential head coaching candidates

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday November 19, 2012

Posted by: Chris Vannini on November 19, 2012

With Mike Price set to announce his retirement Monday, the focus for athletic director Bob Stull will turn to a replacement.

Don't be surprised he moves quickly on this hire. Widely assumed for a while that Price would retire after the season, don't be surprised if he targets some of these coaches.

Willie Fritz: Sam Houston State's head coach has plenty of success and ties to the state of Texas. Fritz took over SHSU in 2010 and took the Bearkats to the FCS National Championship Game in 2011. SHSU has posted an 8-3 record in 2012 and earned another FCS playoff appearance. His other stops as a college coach include Coffeyville CC in Kansas, Blinn in Texas and Central Missouri, so Fritz has a lot of connections to the region.

Paul Petrino: It's no secret that Arkansas' offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach wants to be a head coach. His other stops have included Carroll College, Idaho, Utah State, Louisville, Southern Mississippi, and Illinois. He has risen up the ranks, and the next step up in his career would be a head-coaching job.

Les Koenning: Mississippi State's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach has been all over the place, but has a lot of ties to Texas, with past stops at Texas, Rice, Texas A&M, Houston and TCU. The 53-year-old has been at Mississippi State since 2009. UTEP could benefit from his SEC experience.

Jay Norvell: Keep an eye on Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator / wide receivers coach Jay Norvell.

Clay Helton: USC's quarterbacks/passing game coordinator has plenty of experience in Conference USA. He was Houston's running backs coach from 1997-99 and was an assistant at Memphis from 2000-09, with his final role there being offensive coordinator/quarterbacks. Helton grew up in Texas and spent two years at Houston as a player.

Neal Brown: Texas Tech's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach has quickly risen up the ranks. The 2002 graduate of UMass has moved his career from the Northeast to the South. He spent four years at Troy (2006-09), including the last two as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks. He has been in his current position at Texas Tech since 2010.

Bob Stitt: Colorado School of Mines' head coach is in his 13th year there. The offensive innovator's name has been popping up for jobs more frequently. He has the head-coaching experience, and UTEP could be his step up to Division I.


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Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to chris@coachingsearch.com

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.

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