UTEP Miners

Zack Greenlee
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UTEP the landing spot for ex-Fresno State QB Zach Greenlee


Nearly three months after leaving a Mountain West school, Zack Greenlee has landed at one in Conference USA.

On his Twitter account late Saturday night, Greenlee announced that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at UTEP.  Greenlee joins the Miners as a graduate transfer, which means he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

As an added bonus for UTEP?  Greenlee will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Greenlee started last season as Fresno State’s  starter, but wound up losing the job shortly after serving a suspension. All told, Greenlee started five games in 2015 after entering the year with one career start.

In the games in which he did play, Greenlee completed just under 47 percent of his 156 passes for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.  Six of those touchdowns came in a 42-14 win over Hawaii, while five of his six interceptions came in the last three games of the year.

Greenlee was a three-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2013 recruiting class.

UTEP addresses DWI arrest of star RB Aaron Jones

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 5:  Aaron Jones #29 of the UTEP Miners runs the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Miners 48-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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One of the best and most productive running backs you’ve probably never heard of has become the latest to set the “Days Without An Arrest Ticker” back to double zeroes.

According to court records obtained by the El Paso Times, UTEP running back Aaron Jones was arrested Feb. 10 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The arrest came after a traffic stop initiated by an El Paso County sheriff’s deputy off the university’s campus.

KVIA-TV reports that Jones was pulled over by the deputy after the latter witnessed the former swerving from lane to lane.

Shortly after the arrest went public, head coach Sean Kugler released the following statement:

We are waiting for the process to fully develop and once I have all the facts, I will evaluate the situation. There are consequences to poor decisions and Aaron (Jones) will be held to the same standard as every other student-athlete in our program.

Jones, who went to high school in El Paso, led the Miners in rushing in 2014 (1,321 yards) and 2013 (811). He sustained a season-ending ankle injury two games into the 2015 season; at the time of the injury, his 209 yards rushing were far and away the Miners’ leading rusher (Autrey Golsen, 19 yards at the time).  Despite missing the last 10 games of the season, he finished third on the team in rushing behind Jeremiah Laufasa‘s 381 yards and LaQuintus Dowell‘s 276.

Even as he’s missed a total of 14 games because of injury, including four games at the end of his true freshman season in 2013, Jones is currently eighth on the school’s all-time rushing list.

UTEP adds veteran assistant Tom Mason as DC

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 06: Interim head coach Tom Mason of the SMU Mustangs looks on in the second half against the Connecticut Huskies during the game at Rentschler Field on December 6, 2014 in East Hartford, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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In a press release Thursday announcing Brent Pease as the new offensive coordinator, UTEP also announced Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator.  However, the school sent out a “corrected” release a short time later that excluded Flajole.

Three days later, Flajole’s “replacement” has been found.

In another release, Sean Kugler revealed that veteran college assistant Tom Mason will coordinate the defensive side of the ball.  Mason brings a wealth of experience to Kugler’s staff, having served as a coach in one capacity or another for almost 40 years.

“Tom is an outstanding coach, who comes highly recommended and brings a lot of experience to UTEP, “ said head coach Sean Kugler. “He has 38 years of experience in coaching many of those as a defensive coordinator. …

“We feel his defensive scheme fits our personnel and I am looking forward to him working with our players.”

Mason spent 2015 as the coordinator and defensive line coach at Hawaii. Prior to that, Mason was SMU’s defensive coordinator for seven seasons. After June Jones resigned two games into the 2014 season, Mason spent the rest of the year as the Mustangs’ interim head coach.

Other collegiate stops during Mason’s four-decade career that included Fresno State, Nevada, Northern Iowa, Boise State, Portland State, and Eastern Washington.

As for Flajole? After he accepted Kugler’s offer, he received another offer for a position with the Philadelphia Eagles and accepted it.

Brent Pease lands on his coaching feet at UTEP

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Sean Kugler of the UTEP Miners on the sidelines during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on September 12, 2015 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game 69-20. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
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A month and a half after being unceremoniously dumped by Washington, Brent Pease has landed a new coaching gig.

In a UTEP release announcing the hiring of four new assistant coaches, Pease was named as Sean Kugler‘s new offensive coordinator. Pease was actually one of two coordinators hired by Kugler according to the original release, the other being Ken Flajole on the defensive side of the ball.  However, the school sent out a “corrected” release a short time later that excluded Flajole, who it’s believed took another job instead.  Be that as it may…

Pease was in his second season as wide receivers coach, hired by Chris Petersen prior to his first year with the Huskies, before being fired last month. From 2006-10, Pease was Petersen’s receivers coach at Boise State; in 2011, he was Petersen’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Broncos.

Pease left Boise following the 2011 season to become the offensive coordinator under Will Muschamp at Florida. Two years later, he was fired.

In addition to Pease, two other coaching hires were announced: Theron Aych (wide receivers)and Don Yanowsky (linebackers).

Mountain West Conference says no expansion on the horizon

The Associated Press

The Mountian West Conference had been at the center of various conference realignment or expansion rumors over the past week, ranging from the possible return of BYU to potential additions of Rice and/or UTEP. As conference leaders and administrators gathered this weekend to discuss those options and more for football and other sports, it was decided the Mountain West Conference will not seek any adjustments to the conference’s current membership.

“The entire membership expressed great support for the continued development of the Conference,” said Commissioner Craig Thompson in a released statement Monday.  “There is genuine excitement about the growth which has transpired in the less than three years under the present alignment.”

So, for now, the book is closed on possible expansion or realignment with the Mountain Wets Conference, however the conference did state it will continue to monitor the landscape moving forward, so the door for potential changes is still left open by a crack. Maybe that is good news for fans of programs like BYU, Rice or UTEP.

Thompson sparked the conversation last week by suggesting the conference would be leaving a light on for BYU. The football independent program is entering the crosshairs of some important changes with the program with a head coaching change and still evaluating the pros and cons of life as an independent now five years into the non-conference life and preparing for a sixth. Another report suggested the MWC might be discussing inviting Rice and UTEP to the conference to establish a presence in the state of Texas. UTEP has been in communication with the MWC for a few years according to past reports due to geographical struggles with competing in Conference USA.

At this point, the only thing that might cause the MWC to change its official stance is if BYU comes calling about getting back together in the future as a conference member. Odds are the MWC would find a way to welcome BYU back to the fold, but would that require the conference to add one more member to keep the numbers even? If so, then Idaho, New Mexico State, UTEP and Rice may have to start making some sales pitches to the conference.