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Kugler adds four new coaches to his staff

File Photo/ The Prospector
After posting a 5-7 record in the 2015 season, head coach Sean Kugler made four changes to his coaching staff.

UTEP Football Head coach Sean Kugler made significant changes to his coaching staff, adding four new coaches to his team for the upcoming season.

The four newcomers include offensive coordinator Brent Pease, defensive coordinator Tom Mason, wide receiver coach Theron Aych and linebackers coach Don Yanowsky.

“It’s an exciting day here for us at UTEP,” said Kugler as he addressed the media Thursday, Jan. 14. “I want to tell you these are all excellent football coaches, but more importantly, excellent people with excellent families and people who will add to our program where we want to go.”

After the Miners posted a 5-7 record last season, breaking news in the early off-season leaked about immediate coaching changes Kugler was going to make.

“When I took this job three years ago I made a commitment to myself and the program that I would not make any changes for three years,” Kugler said. “I decided to make change to help push this program over the edge and improve in every area. I’m all about improving—improving myself, improving the coaching staff and improving the quality of play from the players.”

Ken Flajole, a former inside linebacker’s coach for the Cleveland Browns, was going to be announced as the defensive coordinator, but Flajole reportedly took an assistant position with the Philadelphia Eagles instead.

It was not until Saturday, Jan. 16, that the Miners finally found their answer at the defensive coordinator spot. They hired former Hawaii’s defensive coordinator Tom Mason. Prior to Hawaii, Mason spent seven seasons with SMU. He is expected to bring a 3-4 defense to the Miners.

Directing the offense, coach Brent Pease brings experience and a long, impressive resume to the forefront. He has risen from the likes of winning the NCAA I-AA Championship as the offensive coordinator for Montana, to the highly appraised teams of Kentucky and Baylor in the early 2000s.

From 2006-2011, Pease spent five years with the Boise State Broncos, transitioning from wide receiver coach, to offensive coordinator in 2011. Afterwards, Pease was hired by Florida University as offensive coordinator, but after a rough year, they parted ways and Pease joined Chris Petersen and Washington as the receiver coach.

“Keys being creativity, physicality in the run game, and having an explosive passing game and great quarterback play,” Pease said. “I want to create those foundations and center that on the personnel that you have and go from there.”

Pease will face the challenge of finding a true starting quarterback throughout this off-season. The Miners rotated between three different quarterbacks during the 2015 season, Mack Leftwich, Kavika Johnson and Ryan Metz.

Returning for Pease this season will be standout running back Aaron Jones. Jones was sidelined this past season due to an injury, but will still have two years of eligibility.

“I had a friend coach at a junior college and he said UTEP has the best back in the state, which put a smile on my face,” Pease said regarding Aaron Jones. “He’s definitely going to be the face of what we do on offense.”

Joining Pease and the offense is Theron Aych, who was a finalist for the 2015 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year. Aych spent the past five years as offensive coordinator at Angelo State. His offense was ranked number one in the nation and set school records for passing yards, total yards and points per game.

Aych will have a multitude of returning receivers and tight ends. Wideouts, such as Jaquan White, Cole Freytag and Warren Redix, will be deemed as threats for defenses. Also returning for the Miners is stellar tight end Hayden Plinke.

“Even though I lived in San Angelo, I knew a little bit about the program (UTEP),” Aych said. “It’s an exciting opportunity, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting plugged in here.”

Coming from the Ottawa Redblacks from the Canadian Football League, Don Yanowsky seeks to aid the rebuilding of the defense for the Miners. Yanowsky, and his 35 years of coaching experience, was recommended to Kugler by Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.

Yanowsky will have Aaron’s brother, Alvin, leading the linebacker position. Alvin Jones led the team with 93 tackles last season as a sophomore.

“I think No. 16 is a pretty good player. Good players make you a good coach real fast,” Yanowsky said about Jones. “He’s an explosive guy, tough guy, playmaker and he plays with passion.”

Next up for the Miners is National Signing Day, which will be held Wednesday, Feb. 3. Coach Kugler will announce the signees at 12 p.m. during his press conference.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Kugler adds four new coaches to his staff