UTEP Athletic Director Bob Still announced his retirement effective today. Stull led the Miner athletic programs for over eighteen years. He was instrumental in modernizing UTEP athletics, not just on the field but in the classroom as well. The university has added the Larry K. Durham Center at the Sun Bowl, the Helen of Troy softball complex and the Foster-Stevens Center, a practice facility for men's and women's basketball during Stull's tenure. He hired Mike Price to lead the football program and saw attendance rise to over 47,000 fans per game in 2005 as the Miners secured back to back eight win seasons.
Stull understood the UTEP culture in part because he helped build it. Stull led the Miner football program from 1986 to 1988, his 1988 team won a school record ten games and appeared in a bowl game for the first time in over two decades.
He left UTEP and went north to Missouri to take over the Tiger program but never replicated the success he enjoyed in El Paso.
Even as Stull oversaw so much improvement to UTEP athletics, much is left to do. The Miner football program struggled the past three seasons under a former Stull player, Sean Kugler. UTEP is the rare basketball school in the state, based on the success of Don Haskins, yet the Miner basketball program failed to make the NCAA tournament since 2010.
UTEP deals with some particular challenges, including geography. Whoever replaces Stull must be innovative and forward thinking to address those issues. That person will also be making at least one of two critical hires, a football coach, and basketball. UTEP's new AD will also be responsible for continuing to make the Miners relevant, whether in CUSA or wherever UTEP lands in the next round of conference realignment. All that and on a shoe string budget.