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.”