Sean Kugler out as UTEP head coach, fans react
Sean Kugler has stepped down from his position as head football coach at UTEP.
The announcement came Sunday after the team started the season 0-5. The Miners lost to Army Saturday 21-35.
"After meeting with coach [Bob] Stull and discussing my future and the future of this program, we mutually agreed the best thing is for me to step down as the head coach," Kugler said. "My love for UTEP is in my heart forever, and my love for all the players that I have coached here is even stronger.”
Kugler went 18-36 in his time at UTEP, and 11-22 in Conference USA play. He led the miners to a winning season in 2014 (7-6) and a berth in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
UTEP will announce plans for the rest of the season on Monday.
Kugler's full statement is below:
"After meeting with coach [Bob] Stull and discussing my future and the future of this program, we mutually agreed the best thing is for me to step down as the head coach," Kugler said. "My love for UTEP is in my heart forever, and my love for all the players that I have coached here is even stronger. We have accomplished many things together -- a bowl appearance in 2014, a perfect APR score, the highest GPA in team history and countless players getting their degrees. I am so proud of my players and their behavior off the field representing El Paso as great ambassadors in community service.
"I would like to thank coach Stull and Dr. [Diana] Natalicio for this great opportunity. I would like to thank the Miner fans who I love for all your support throughout my career as a player, assistant and head coach. I am proud to be a Miner for life."
"We really appreciate the dedication and hard work that coach Kugler has brought to this program, and we are proud of the accomplishments during his tenure as head coach," Director of Athletics Bob Stull said. "After a long discussion, we have agreed that it is best for him and the program that he step down. Sean will always be a Miner and we wish him the best in his coaching future."
Kugler concludes his UTEP tenure with a record of 18-36, including an 11-22 mark in Conference USA play. He led the Miners to a winning season in 2014 (7-6) and a berth in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
UTEP football only has five home games this season, and the team suffered devastating defeats in two of them already. Fans we talked to Sunday were on the fence about coach first name needed Kugler's performance and resignation.
"Obviously the results on the football field weren't what the fans and a lot of people hope they would be,” said Jon Teicher, voice of the Miners.
It has been a losing season so far for the Miners, and a shock for fans Sunday as Kugler stepped down.
"It's been a difficult watch. Receiving a lot of criticism from people who aren't UT El Paso fans,” said season ticket holder Ivan Enriquez.
"I didn't exactly see it coming and not at this particular time. I'm sad, I'm shocked, I'm disappointed,” Teicher said.
"This season is pretty bad. But you can't have winning seasons all the time,” explained Miner fan Arturo Velles.
Our reporter broke the news to some football fans Sunday.
"I'm disappointed! I was hoping we'd have a good season. I don't know the reason, so hopefully it's not because he just gave up on us,” said lifelong Miner fan Alex Burciaga.
Fans had mixed reactions on whether this is a positive change.
"It's a positive thing for UT El Paso but a disappointment because I thought coach Kugler had the talent and the qualifications and the coaching staff surrounding him,” Enriquez said.
“They've gotta blame somebody, right? It's not right,” Velles said.
Some UTEP supporters said Kugler isn't completely at fault.
"It could be the players, it could be something else. I don't think it's the coach entirely,” Velles said.
Our reporter asked about the future of the football team.
"I'd like to see them take some time and recruit someone that they have an opportunity and given the resources to significantly advance,” Enriquez answered.
"Hopefully, whoever does come in is willing to work hard and get us back on the right track to win,” Burciaga said.
Everyone we asked didn't have an ideal replacement candidate in mind. They just hope whomever it is has a passion for the Miners and brings home some victories.