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New UTEP coach Dana Dimel adds pair of coordinators

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On the same day he could’ve been adding players to his first UTEP roster, Dana Dimel instead announced the additions of a pair of key assistants.

Wednesday, Dimel confirmed that he has hired Mike Canales and Mike Cox as part of his first Miners coaching staff. The former will serve as offensive coordinator, the latter defensive coordinator.

Dimel and Cox spent the past five seasons working together at Kansas State, with Cox serving as linebackers coach for Bill Snyder each of those five seasons. This will mark Cox’s first coordinator job.

“Mike is a very knowledgeable coach familiar with what I wanted from a coordinator. We worked side by side for five years,” Dimel said in a statement. “His experience and reputation as an outstanding coach has spanned from three different Power Five Conferences as well as the NFL. Mike will be a great resource for the UTEP players and help develop them as best student-athletes and young men. Mike will bring an aggressive and physical defense to the Miners.”

Canales spent the 2017 season as the quarterbacks coach at Tennessee. Prior to a one-year stint as the running backs and tight ends coach at his alma mater Utah State, he was the coordinator at North Texas for six seasons (2010-15).

During a 33-year coaching career, Canales has also spent time as coordinator two other programs: Arizona (2004-06) and twice at South Florida, first from 1996-2000 and then again in 2009.

“Mike Canales and I have known each other for a long period of time and worked together as well,” said Dimel. “Mike understands the positive message and energy we want to bring to the players and the program. Mike is highly regarded as a great developer of quarterbacks as well as an outstanding offensive coordinator. He has tremendous experience in three different Power Five Conferences and the NFL and also in Conference USA as an interim head coach as well as a coordinator. Mike will be a great mentor to help develop our student-athletes in reaching all their goals as a player and a person.”

As for Dimel’s first roster? The first-year coach said in a separate statement that he decided to not sign any players during the Early Signing Period and will instead focus initially on evaluating the current roster before shifting to gearing up for February’s Signing Day.

“We’re pleased to say that the initial stages of our recruiting process is going well. The first step that we have taken is to evaluate the personnel within the program. This has allowed us to address our needs,” said Dimel. “The next step was to get a good feel on numbers we have in each class. This allows us to have a plan for balancing our numbers in the future. There are several recruits across Texas and the country that we have had conversations and contacts with. We have chosen not to sign any so we can further get to know them and allow them to officially visit our campus in January. Some of these recruits could be mid-year transfers. We are moving swiftly but are doing our due diligence. Each decision is based on the long-term future of our program.”

In wake of Tyler Hilinski’s suicide, Drew Bledsoe sends powerful message to men

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As Washington State continues to come to grips with tragedy, there are those connected to the program who are hoping, even pleading, that something good can come out of the pain.

Tyler Hilinski‘s body was found Tuesday evening at his residence, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head.  As those close to Hilinski mourn the sudden death of the 21-year-old redshirt sophomore quarterback, some, including teammate John Bledsoe, took to social media to express their grief.

Bledsoe is a freshman quarterback at Wazzu who is also the son of Cougar great Drew Bledsoe. On his Instagram account Wednesday, the elder Bledsoe, who acknowledged that he didn’t know Hilinski well, sent out a heartfelt message imploring men “to learn to TALK about how we are feeling.”

“If we sprain an ankle we go see a doctor,” Bledsoe wrote. “If we’re struggling emotionally we have to learn to treat it the same way.”

Everybody needs help at some point.  Male or female, if you’ve gotten to that point, reach out for the help.  As Bledsoe stated, it’s not a sign of weakness it’s the ultimate sign of strength.  Talk to a family member, friend, co-worker, clergy, anyone.  If you’re too embarrassed to talk to someone you know, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is just a phone call away at 1-800-273-8255.

Just talk to someone.  Whether you believe it at the time or not, your life is worth it.

In statement, K-State ‘deeply saddened’ over death of Bill Snyder’s grandson

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In a statement, Kansas State has confirmed the passing of head coach Bill Snyder‘s grandson and assistant coach Sean Snyder‘s son.

Emergency personnel were called to the home of Matthew Snyder Wednesday afternoon for what was described as a medical emergency.  Other than the 22-year-old was deceased, no further details of the events surrounding his death have been released.

While neither of the long-time Wildcats coaches have, understandably, addressed the tragedy, K-State athletic director Gene Taylor did in a statement.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Snyder family during this very difficult time. We are deeply saddened to learn of this news and ask that the family’s privacy continue to be respected. Sean, Wanda, and the entire Snyder family are greatly appreciative of the outpouring of support displayed by the K-State Family as they cope with this tragedy.

FAU QB Jason Driskel announces he is retiring from football

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This one seemingly comes from out of nowhere.

The starting quarterback for Lane Kiffin‘s resurgent FAU program for most of 2017, Jason Driskel was hoping again to trigger one of the most potent offenses in the country in 2018.  Instead, Driskel announced on his personal Twitter account that he is retiring from the sport.

“After a lot of thinking, talking with friends and family, and prayer, I have made the decision to end my college football career,” Driskel, who has one year of eligibility remaining, wrote in the social media missive. “I undoubtedly will miss my teammates and the game with all of its trials and tribulations; but I will not regret the decision to move into the next chapter of my life.”

After going 1-2 the first three games of the 2017 season, Lane Kiffin benched starter Daniel Parr and inserted Driskel.  After losing his first start at Buffalo, Driskel proceeded to help lead the Owls to 10 straight wins to close out the regular season with a school-record 11 wins.  FAU won the Conference USA championship and also claimed the program’s first bowl win since 2008 for good measure.

Driskel passed for 2,247 yards, five touchdowns and just four interceptions in what turned out to be his last season at the school.  He was also third on the Owls with 427 yards rushing, while his eight rushing touchdowns were second on the team.

With Driskel out, a pair of transfers, Florida State’s De'Andre Johnson and Oklahoma’s Chris Robinson, will likely battle for the starting job beginning in the spring.  Even if he hadn’t retired, Driskel would’ve had to beat out that duo for the starting job, his head coach confirmed after the Boca Raton Bowl rout of Akron.

Bill Snyder’s grandson, Sean Snyder’s son dies at age 22

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Tragedy has struck at the heart of the Kansas State football program.

According to the Manhattan Mercury, 22-year-old Matthew Snyder died Wednesday in Manhattan.  Snyder is the grandson of legendary K-State head coach Bill Snyder and the son of longtime Wildcats assistant Sean Snyder.

Scant details surrounding the younger Snyder’s death have been released.  From the Mercury‘s report:

Emergency personnel responded to a medical call Wednesday afternoon in the 3300 block of Claflin Avenue in Manhattan. Riley County police confirmed that there had been a death but declined to give any further information.

The house at 3309 Claflin Ave. belongs to KTMW LLC, which is owned by Sean and Wanda Snyder, according to county records.

The football program is expected to release a statement or statements on Matthew Snyder’s passing later on Thursday.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those affected by the young man’s death.