( Video courtesy UTEP Athletics) UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter officially announced Dana Dimel as the 26th head coach in UTEP football history.
Quotes from New Head Football Coach Dana Dimel
“Thanks guys, I’m obviously very pleased to be here and want to thank Dr. [Diana] Natalicio and Jim [Senter] and Chris [Park] and Richard [Adauto III], as they all put the search together. I got spend time with Dr. Natalicio and I can tell she’s got a lot of passion and compassion for the people of El Paso and also for her job, so that was a very nice conversation that we had. I’m really proud of Jim, him and I are coming into this thing together and we’re ready to work hard, but that goes without saying – we don’t even need to say that, that’s just what happens. I’ve heard so many good things about [Jim Senter] as a leader and I’m so excited to work with him and move this program in the right direction. In visiting with Chris and Richard, those are two other guys who have a really firm grasp on what’s going on at the University of Texas at El Paso and they’re going to be a big, big help to me. I appreciate everybody from that sense. And then I want introduce my wife Julie here. Julie, I think she likes football more than me, possibly. If I know anybody who has a great passion for the game of football, it’s Julie. She wakes up every Saturday morning and watches ESPN Game Day and every Sunday, she’s glued to the set watching Roby G [Rob Gronkowski] of the Patriots. She’s a pretty loyal Patriots fan. You guys will love spending time around her and enjoy her and enjoy how she’s got a great passion for the game of football and all it brings to us.
“Let me talk little bit now just the things about this job that I want to accomplish. I think that there’s so much that can be done here and I see the great potential in everything that we want to do is going to be in a positive method and positive manner. I think that’s so important when you’re dealing with young people like we are with college athletes, is that you have to be positive and you have to have a great positive attitude, and a consistent positive attitude, so that what I want to bring to the table. We’re going to make this a great place to play college football and we’re going to have a good time doing it with our players. They’re going to represent everybody in the university very, very well. That’s going to be one of my greatest sealing points to parents as we go out and recruit. I want them to know that the players in our program will care about academics, they’re going to go to class, they’re going to care about doing things off the field the right way, they’re going to respect people in the community. And then when other kids come in to play, they’re going to know all those things are important to them and that our players represent that. And the parents will feel really comfortable about that. And that’s an important part of recruiting is that the parents will send their young men to play college football and the one thing they want to know is what kind of people are they going to be around. So, the quality of character that’s in our program is why we’re going to win. We’re going to win because of character. The recruiting process will start with, number one, character, and that’s going to be the most driving factor that we have. Obviously, we’re going to look for great talent and have a background in state of Texas. I recruited the state of Texas for the first time as a graduate assistant, which normally you don’t get to go out and recruit as a graduate assistant, but we had some typical turnover that you would have at Kansas State and I’ll get to that kind of a background of Kansas State and the turnaround there. When I was out recruiting as a graduate assistant in 1987, as a very young coach, the first place I recruited was in San Antonio, Texas, and I have never stopped recruiting Texas since. I’ve been in Texas at every stop that I’ve been with, I’ve been a head coach, which we had a lot of success in Texas. Obviously, with my stay at Houston, we had the top recruiting classes in Conference USA my last two years there and left that program in great standing. When we left there for Art Briles, Kevin Sumlin, Tony Levine and Tom Herman to take over and have great success. We laid a tremendous foundation there through recruiting in the state of Texas, and we did it well at Wyoming and when I left to go on to Arizona and worked for Mike Stoops at Arizona, we also recruited in Texas very well. So, my relationship, one of the strengths that we bring to the table, is my relationship with high school Texas coaches. It’s been one that’s been impeccable through the years. I’ve tried to make sure that I haven’t burned any bridges with the coaches and I think all of them are excited that I’m back in Texas as a head coach and they’re’ very much forward looking to help our program move in the right direction. That’s going to be very important to have high school coaches in Texas behind us. I’ll continue to cultivate the relationship and make sure that those guys understand what we’re doing and how we’re going to do it the right way.
“Going back to the history – I don’t want to call this a turnaround, because it’s not a turnaround – we’re going to build a program and we’re going to build it from the ground up and when I get asked about ‘time and concepts’, about ‘how long it’s going to take?’, ‘how you’re going to be?’. Take the 1-0 concept and that’s the concept we’re going to be as good as we can be today and we’re going to get the most of everyday and if we do that, then tomorrow will take care of itself. And that’s the most important as you turn a program around. So, I’ll kind of relate some of turnaround stories in my background that gives me the experience to be able to come in and build the program. The first, I played at Kansas State, and when I was at Kansas State, we probably won five or six games in my three years that I played there. So, not a lot of success. And then I took over as a GA. my first two years as a GA, I think we were 0-21-1 and the only game that we tied was against Kansas and it was called the ‘Toilet Bowl’. Neither of us knew how to win and so we both decided to tie the game, it would just go away. So, the next year, Bill Snyder comes in and I get moved up to a higher position on the staff and we win one game. We went 1-10 in that first year. And then as time went on, obviously, the story tells itself and we turned that program around, and I was able to go out and get the chance to be a head coach at the University of Wyoming at a young age. At that time, I ended up staying in coaching and took the head coaching job at Wyoming, I stayed on and coached the Cotton Bowl, finished it up, and then went to Wyoming. And then I had the great success there at Wyoming and then moved on from there to the University of Houston. My point is this: what I saw at Kansas State, and how what losing brought to the table and how to turn a program around, and the leadership it takes, the positive leadership and the team unity it takes, and the player leadership just stepping up and knowing how to get a program right and to make each other very accountable. That’s a key work, making everybody accountable on the team and to prepare ourselves to win. I saw that and I saw was so important to make that transition. So, as I move forward as head coach, I implemented those into both programs and both of them took to fruition and both of them had success because of that. I’m very proud of that and that I’m very much qualified to do it again here and I’m just excited about the opportunity because I took the role after I was done at Houston and I went and helped Mike [Stoops] as the associate head coach at Arizona, my role was this, was do the very best job at what you’re doing each and every day. Be the best you can be and don’t worry about anything else, do worry about another offensive coordinator position, don’t worry about getting another head coaching position, just be the best offensive coordinator you can be each and every day and be a good mentor to your players. And I even never tried to get another head coaching job. This is the first head coaching job that I’ve made an effort to get. It was a time in my life where I knew was a really good fit for me and a place that needed us. I feel so positive on what we’re going to accomplish here, things that we’re going to get done, but with a 1-0 concept with really good quality people in the program. And we’re going to take all the evaluation skills that Jim mentioned, all the skills that we have to evaluate talent and to understand how to develop talent. Because there are two things that we have to do really well here, to evaluate and we’re going to have to develop. That’s going to be the strength of our program. We’re going to bring in guys who have great potential, and then we’re going to be known as one of the best developing programs in the country. And the brand that we’re going to have is the same brand that I’ve had everywhere that I’ve been – that our guys are going to play hard and they’re going to be accountable, and that’s the brand we’ve carried with us everywhere that we’ve been. They’re going to line up and play against a UTEP football team, where you’re going to play against a bunch of disciplined and accountable players. And then Jim talked about our philosophies, we’re going to score a lot of points. I’m one of the winningest, if not the winningest offensive coordinators in country since 2011.
“My experience as a head coach has helped me to learn that not trying to build a resume by getting 650 yards, but then your defense is there for 100 plays, you’re trying to be as efficient as you can and score a lot of points and have an exciting brand of football. But the bottom line is, and Jim hit it right in the head, the philosophy for us is to score one more point than the defense gives up and that the defense hold them to one less point than the offense scores. So, that’s going to be our philosophy and along the way we’ve averaged 33.5 points over the last seven years and have probably the most efficient offense in college football. If you look at it, we have been that offense where the things that really matter are points per possession, things like that are underlined things that show how efficient you are – red zone offense and third-down offense, all those things that are efficiency measures, K-State is very well regarded. As far as being a spread team, we use every formation imaginable. But two years in a row we were selected the number one spread team in the nation, because we made the defense make the most solo tackles of any offense in the country two years in a row. We’ve had Heisman Trophy finalists in our offense, our offense has set school passing records and school rushing records. Whatever our talent tells us we have, we have an offense that has the ability to play to that talent. So, we’re going to make our offense fit the personnel that we have and we are going to recruit quality characters, but really, we’re going to recruit guys who are smart and they run well. And they’re going to run well and that’s important. You got to have guys who move. And it doesn’t necessarily mean at every position, speed, but you want speed at your skill. We’re going to have guys on the offensive line, guys on the defensive line and guys at the linebacker position run well, and that’s very important for us. Defensively, we’re going to have to be as sound and disciplined as possible but will be aggressive. We’ll try and create as many turnovers as possible, because obviously, the turnovers are going to change a game. So, there’s going to be a big goal for us is to win the turnover margin in each and every game. Offensively, I think we’re number three in the country in turnovers in the last eight years – the least number of turnovers. Defensively, we want to be able to match that by causing a lot of turnovers and that’s going to help us win football games. So, that’s some of the philosophical things that I wanted to visit about with the program.
“I can’t’ wait; we’ve already started. I watched, when I did my interview, I watched a lot of the players on film. I already got a good feel for what kind of talent is here. I made sure I did my homework and have a good feel of what these players bring to the table and I’m not going to dwell on the past at all, that’s not anything with what my job is. I learned that in a turnaround, is that coach don’t come in and say that the players that we have now are ‘this and that’. I’m going to evaluate; the staff is going to evaluate what we have as a football team. I’m sure there’s plenty to work with on this football team and I know from the team meeting, there’s plenty of guys who are excited to play and that’s what I’m going to build on. These are my guys and I’m going to grow with them.”
Dana Dimel, 55, was previously the head coach at the University of Wyoming and the University of Houston. He most recently served as the offensive coordinator, running backs coach and tight ends coach at his alma mater, Kansas State University, where he has worked since 2009. He also spent three seasons on the staff at the University of Arizona.
Dimel is completing his third tour of duty with the Wildcats, including a year (2005) continuing work on his graduate degree. Working under legendary coach Bill Snyder, he has been a part of 12 bowl teams during 19 seasons in Manhattan. The Wildcats have posted an 11-win season (2012), two 10-win campaigns (1995, 2011) and five nine-win seasons (1993, 1994, 1996, 2014, 2016) during that span, and have finished in the top-18 of the national poll on three occasions (2011, 2012, 2014). They won the Big 12 championship in 2012.
Dimel has the most wins of any active offensive coordinator in college football since 2011 (60), and has been a part of eight straight bowl appearances including in 2017. The 2016 Wildcats defeated Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU.
With Dimel calling the plays over the last seven seasons, the Wildcats have averaged 33.4 points per game and 6.2 yards per play. They have ranked third nationally in fewest turnovers per game behind LSU and Alabama over the last seven years.
During Dimel’s tenure as offensive coordinator, Kansas State has routinely ranked among the nation’s best teams in red zone and third down efficiency.
In 2014, Kansas State led the nation in scoring efficiency (scoring drives/total drives) while shattering the school record for passing yards (3,736) and completion percentage (65.3).
Dimel’s play calling helped wide receiver Tyler Lockett leave K-State with the school’s career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdown records, while quarterback Jake Waters broke the school marks for single-season passing yards (3,501) and total offensive yards (3,985).
In 2012 Dimel coached Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, who passed for 2,641 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 920 yards and 23 scores.
In 2011, Dimel led a rushing offense that saw Klein set a new Big 12 record and NCAA record by a quarterback with 27 rushing touchdowns while rushing for 1,000+ yards.
Dimel started his career at K-State as a graduate assistant from 1987-88 prior to being elevated to offensive line coach in 1989. He took over as offensive coordinator in 1995. Overall Dimel spent 10 seasons in Manhattan (1987-96) prior to accepting the head coaching position at Wyoming. At the time of his hire, he was the youngest Division I-A head coach in the nation at the age of 34.
Wyoming’s three seasons at Wyoming (1997-99) produced a record of 22-13, with one eight-win season (1998, 8-3) and two seven-win campaigns (1997, 7-6 and 1999, 7-4). In 1998, Wyoming was 6-2 in the WAC’s Mountain Division (second place). Dimel coached three Academic All-Americans at Wyoming.
Dimel spent 2000-02 as the head coach at Houston. Spearheading a major rebuilding effort, he led the Cougars to five wins in 2002 following a 0-11 campaign in 2001. In Dimel’s final game with the Cougars, Houston upset conference champion Louisville. Dimel brought in the top-ranked recruiting class in Conference USA in both 2001 and 2002.
He continued work on his graduate degree at Kansas State in 2005 prior to taking over as Arizona’s tight ends coach and, eventually, run game coordinator from 2006-08. In 2008, he added running backs to his list of responsibilities as he was promoted to Associate Head Coach with the Wildcats. The 2008 Arizona squad finished 8-5 while posting a bowl victory (Las Vegas Bowl) for the first time in 10 years. Among Dimel’s protégés at Arizona was Rob Gronkowski, who has emerged as one of the top tight ends in NFL history with the New England Patriots.
During his initial tenure at K-State, Dimel coordinated an offense that established school records for touchdowns, points and yards in 1995. He mentored 11 offensive linemen who went on to sign NFL contracts over those 10 years, as well as three All-Americans.
During his career as a head or assistant coach, Dimel has coached 37 players who have gone on to play in the NFL.
Dimel was a two-year letterman as an offensive lineman at Kansas State. He was a member of the Wildcats’ All-Decade Team for the 1980’s. He signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings and attended training camp in 1987.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Kansas State in 1986.
Dimel and his wife, Julie, have a son, Winston and a daughter, Josey. His son is a junior fullback on the Kansas State football team who has scored 25 touchdowns over the last three seasons. He is a three-time All-Big 12 player, garnering first team honors in 2015 and 2016.