It was a different kind of signing day Thursday at UTEP, as UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter, women’s basketball head coach Kevin Baker and men’s coach Joe Golding will all be Miners for the foreseeable future.
Senter has signed a contract extension that will keep him in the Sun City through August 2026. Additionally, Senter’s title has been elevated to Vice President and Director of Athletics.
UTEP women’s basketball head coach Kevin Baker has received a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Miners until August 2024, while first-year men’s basketball head coach Joe Golding’s five-year deal was approved by the University of Texas System Board of Regents last week.
The contract extension and title bump for Senter was approved by the University of Texas System Board of Regents last week. The extension spans five years and includes a base salary of $350,295 with performance incentives that are customary for the industry and Division I athletic directors.
“I am honored to receive the additional title of Vice President and this five-year extension,” Senter said. “I am grateful for the competitive salary that Dr. Wilson offered me and the stability of knowing I will be here to lead this department. We have a lot of work to do, and we are going to surprise folks in Conference USA as our teams compete for and win championships this year. My family and I love El Paso and the great people in this community.”
Since being named UTEP’s Director of Athletics in November of 2017, Senter has been responsible for hiring six current head coaches for Miner programs, including football (Dana Dimel), men’s basketball (Joe Golding), rifle (Austin Litherland), soccer (Kathryn Balogun), volleyball (Ben Wallis) and softball (T.J. Hubbard).
“I’m very pleased that Jim Senter has signed on to stay with us here at UTEP,” said Heather Wilson, President of the University. “He has provided strong leadership of the athletic department as we seek to compete for and win championships and host great athletic events for Miner fans.”
Senter has engaged Miner supporters far and wide by organizing a series of Town Hall meetings across El Paso and establishing UTEP’s first-ever Fan Council. He also ushered in sweeping changes to the iconic Sun Bowl Stadium, with the addition of indoor and outdoor club seating, loge boxes, suites, the GECU Terrace, Hunt Family Sky Lounge and Paul and Alejandra Foster Tower.
Athletically, highlights from the Senter era have included the women’s cross country team capturing its first conference championship, women’s track and field winning the Conference USA Indoor title, and women’s golf posting three consecutive tournament victories for the first time in school history.
The men’s and women’s basketball, football, soccer and volleyball squads have all exhibited significant improvement under his leadership.
Off the field, a school-record 202 UTEP student-athletes earned spots on the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll at the conclusion of the 2021 spring semester, while 71 — also a new school standard — were recipients of C-USA Academic Medals with GPA’s of 3.75 or better.
As for the Miner hardwood coaches, Baker has been rewarded for being the first coach in program history to produce three winning seasons over their first four years by receiving a two-year contract extension that will keep him on the Miner sidelines through the 2023-24 season, UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter announced Thursday.
“I am excited to reward Coach Baker with an extension to his contract,” Senter said. “He deserves it and continues to show progress in leading our women’s basketball program. We have high expectations for this program and know that the future is bright under his leadership.”
Baker’s charges have collected at least 16 wins in three different seasons, and his 59 wins through four years are easily the most of any prior Miner head coach at this juncture. In fact he’s already the third-winningest head coach in program annals. Baker has directed UTEP to consecutive winning seasons for the first time since a four-year stretch from 2010-11 through 2013-14. Additionally, the Miners have won a game in four straight C-USA tournaments for the first time since a five-year stretch (2010-14).
“I am thrilled about my job and I love coming to work every day,” Baker said. “I absolutely love El Paso and consider this my home. I work with an amazing staff and our players are a pleasure to coach. So, this contract extension means the world to me. Being the head coach at UTEP is such an amazing honor and it is one I never take lightly. I am so proud to work for an athletic director and an administration that believes in what we are doing. My coaching staff and I have done some great things in the last few years but we all believe the best is yet to come.”
Most recently in 2020-21 Baker’s leadership helped UTEP finish 17-8, including 13-5 in C-USA action, to earn the number two seed in the C-USA West Division. The Miners advanced to the C-USA semifinals for the first time in five years. Additionally, the 13 wins in league play were the most since 2016.
In addition to Baker’s extension, UTEP men’s basketball head coach Joe Golding’s five-year contract has been finalized and approved. The contract has a base salary of $400,000 and a $300,000 provision for speaking engagements and coaches shows that combine for an annual salary of $700,000. It also includes customary incentives.
“It has taken us a while to get this new contract for Coach Golding completed,” Senter said. “I feel confident that he is being fairly compensated and is at the upper echelon of Conference USA men’s coaches with his salary and performance incentives. We are excited to see what Joe can do to return Miner Basketball to national prominence and compete for and win C-USA Championships.”
Golding, who was appointed Miner head coach on April 13, came to the Sun City after leading Abilene Christian to a record of 158-144 in 10 seasons with the Wildcats, including a sparkling mark of 71-23 over the past three years.
ACU went to the NCAA Tournament in two of the past three seasons, including upsetting third-seeded Texas at the 2021 Big Dance. Golding directed ACU to three consecutive 20-win seasons, finishing at 27-7 in 2018-19, 20-11 in 2019-20 and 24-5 last year.
“I’m excited it’s (the contract) done and all that’s behind us now,” Golding said. “From the get-go, all I wanted was to be the head coach of UTEP. Now it’s official, let’s get to work and go Miners!”
In 2020-21, Golding guided ACU to a record of 24-5, including 13-2 within the Southland Conference. The Wildcats won the Southland Conference tournament title before going on to shock the heavily-favored Longhorns to secure the first NCAA Tournament win in program history. He was named the NABC District 22 co-Coach of the Year. Three different players earned All-Southland Conference accolades, with three more being tabbed to the league’s All-Defensive team.
Season tickets for both men’s and women’s basketball remain on sale for the 2021-22 seasons. Fans can call the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office at (915) 747-UTEP, email email@example.com, go online or stop by in person (Brumbelow Building on UTEP campus, 201 Glory Road) Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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