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UTEP Turns To One Of Their Own

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Sean Kugler returns to his alma mater and replaces Mike Price as head coach at UTEP. Photo by Getty Images.
Sean Kugler returns to his alma mater and replaces Mike Price as head coach at UTEP. Photo by Getty Images.

The Mike Price era is over in El Paso and the Miners have turned to one of their own.

Sean Kugler was named head coach of the UTEP football program on December 8, 2012. Kugler is no stranger to El Paso as he played for the Miners from 1984-88.  

I talked to the first year UTEP head coach today about taking over the reigns in El Paso.

"I'm excited about the job, I'm excited about coming back to my alma mater and coaching," Kugler told Football.com. "We're going to work hard to put together a team that will compete each week."  

A former lineman (his position coach, Andy Reid, now coaches the Kansas City Chiefs) and also a former assistant head coach for the Miners, Kugler looks to instill his ways into the program he knows well. It starts offensively, where he'll switch from a spread to a pro-style attack.

"It will be an open competition. We have a transfer quarterback from Texas A&M (Jameill Showers) and the best guy will win that job in camp," Kugler said.

Showers was recruited to Texas A&M under then-head coach Mike Sherman. Sherman, the former Green Bay head coach, was ousted in favor of Kevin Sumlin prior to last season, and Sumlin's spread attack did not compliment Showers, who faced the prospect of sitting behind last year's Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.   

Kugler will implement an NFL-style offensive scheme and has spent the majority of the last decade coaching in the NFL. Kugler coached tight ends and offensive line from 2001-03 at UTEP under then-head coach Gary Nord. He only coached tight ends and offensive line after ascending the bottom rung of the coaching ladder as a UTEP grad assistant.   

After Nord was let go, Kugler found work coaching in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. From 2004-06 he coached tight ends and offensive line under Steve Mariucci and Rod Marinelli. Kugler went back to college and played a role in one of the better college football runs the sport has seen since the turn of the century, Boise State. From 2007 to 2009, the Broncos went 36-4, won two WAC championships and won the Fiesta Bowl.   

Kugler left the Boise State program to try another stint in the NFL in Buffalo, coaching the Bills' offensive line. He was set to hold the same position for the 2013 season, this time in Pittsburgh with the Steelers. Then the phone rang, and it was his alma mater, UTEP.  

The UTEP faithful await the installation of new offensive and defensive schemes in fall camp. 

"It will be more of a two-back offense. It will be a learning curve from a spread offense," Kugler said. "Defensively we have a new defensive coordinator from Sam Houston State named Scott Stoker. He will do an excellent job implementing more of a man pressure scheme."

The Miners begin fall camp August 9 and their first game is Sept. 7 against New Mexico.