Bryen Spriggs (former chief of staff) has been promoted to an assistant coach while Austin Cox (chief of staff), Brandon Decker (strength and conditioning coach) and Rian Stubbs (special assistant to the head coach) are joining the UTEP men’s basketball program, head coach Joe Golding announced Wednesday.
Spriggs was with the Miners during the 2021-22 season, helping them achieve plenty of success. UTEP picked up its first 20-win season (20-14) since finishing 22-11 in 2014-15, earning the Miners a spot in The Basketball Classic for their first postseason appearance since 2015. UTEP beat Western Illinois, 80-54, on March 19 for its first postseason win since 2009.
UTEP went 11-7 in league play, picking up the first winning record in conference action since going 12-6 in 2016-17. That was helped by winning 10 of 14 down the stretch, including stopping back-to-back C-USA West Division Champion North Texas’ 15-game winning streak, 70-68, on “Senior Day” on March 5. The Miners then went on to defeat Old Dominion, 74-64, on March 9 for their first victory at the C-USA Championships in five years.
Prior to UTEP, Spriggs most recently served on Golding’s staff at Abilene Christian as a special assistant to the head coach during the 2020-21 season. During his time at ACU, the Wildcats posted a 24-5 overall record and a 13-2 mark in league play. ACU won its first ever NCAA Tournament game, upsetting heavily-favored Texas 53-52 on March 20, 2021. Before ACU, Spriggs served as both the head men’s basketball coach and Athletic Director for the Community College of Beaver County in Monaca, Pa. While there, his team compiled a 75-12 record, won a pair of WPCC conference championships, and earned a trio of top-10 national rankings. Spriggs also coached nine all-conference selections.
“I’m excited to promote Bryen Spriggs to assistant coach,” Golding said. “I think that he is a rising star in this business. He has been at all levels of college basketball and has built relationships throughout his journey that will benefit us here at UTEP. He has been with me now for two years and understands what I’m looking for in recruiting and on the floor. I’m thankful that Bryen came into my life and our program at ACU years ago. He has been instrumental in our success at ACU and building a foundation here at UTEP in year one!”
Cox, the son of UTEP’s Jeremy Cox, Golding’s associate head coach, ventured to the Sun City from Stephen F. Austin where he had served as the director of basketball operations since June of 2021. From August 2018 through May 2021 he worked as an Elite Account Executive at Hudl-Sportscode, a company that is leading the way in the recruiting and data analytics landscape for college athletics. Cox brought a diverse background to the Miners’ Basketball staff with four years of experience in Collegiate Administration within Conference USA. He served as the chief of staff for Southern Miss Athletics from 2015-18, and was an assistant to the director of athletics with the Golden Eagles from 2014-15.
“I’m excited to bring Austin Cox to UTEP,” Golding said. “He has experience in many different areas in college basketball. He just recently was director of basketball operations for Stephen F Austin a program and coach that I have the upmost respect for. Austin did a tremendous job for them and comes highly recommended. Like the other two hires, he has been around winning programs and knows what it looks like. He is very detailed and organized and takes a lot of pride in his job responsibilities. He is great at building relationships with the players and staff and is always willing to do what is necessary to make a program successful. I couldn’t be happier with this hire and how he will make our program better.”
Decker brought nine years of coaching experience at the collegiate level to the Miners. During his four years alongside Golding at Abilene Christian, the Wildcats posted three 20-win seasons and an overall record of 112-39 (.741), including two NCAA Tournament appearances and an upset of no. 3 seed Texas in the 2021 “Big Dance.” During the 2021-22 season, ACU went 25-11 overall and 11-7 in the WAC. Prior to Decker’s time in Abilene, he worked on the strength and conditioning staff at Alabama State (2015-16) where he served men’s basketball, softball and volleyball. Decker spent one year (2014-15) at Murray State, assisting men’s and women’s basketball, softball, golf and tennis. Decker got his start as an intern at Penn State in 2013, working with 29 of the 31 varsity sports.
“I’m thrilled to add Coach Decker and his wife Peyton to UTEP,” Golding said. “Coach Decker played a huge role in the development of our players and program at Abilene Christian. He was there from the start as we built the culture and foundation. He was a big reason for our success on the floor and two NCAA tournament appearances. Our players and program will benefit from him. He has an incredible work ethic and builds relationships with each player as he develops them to play at their peak performance level.”
Stubbs came to UTEP from New Mexico State. During his inaugural season at NM State, Stubbs served as the special assistant to the head coach and was involved in all aspects of the program. The Aggies advanced to the WAC Tournament championship contest for the ninth straight season despite being unable to play any games within the state of New Mexico due to in-state COVID-19 restrictions. Stubbs was promoted to the position of video coordinator in the summer of 2021. The Aggies achieved new heights during the 2021-22 season, winning the WAC regular season and tournament championship while also knocking off fifth-seeded UCONN for their first victory in the NCAA Tournament in 29 years. He also previously served as head coach at Lamar Community College for three years, compiling 52 wins.
“Rian Stubbs is someone I have known for a while going back to my Days in Abilene,” Golding said. “I got a chance to watch him work while he was at Hardin Simmons and was extremely impressed with him. I have followed his career as he became a successful junior college head coach and just recently on Coach (Chris) Jans’s staff at NM State. He understands winning at this level and what it looks like. He will bring new and creative ideas to our program and will be a valuable asset to our staff and players!”