Why Stull needed to go

Why+Stull+needed+to+go

Jason Green, Contributor

When one walks around the UTEP campus, it would be hard to miss Athletic Director Bob Stull’s fingerprints – for better or worse. Stull announced his retirement last week and it has been a long time coming.

The fingerprints of the former football coach are everywhere on campus. The man is a great fundraiser, nobody can deny that. Let’s start with a walk to the Larry K. Durham Center.

The 65,000-square foot building is the crown jewel of football recruiting at UTEP. There is no doubt that this is the first stop that recruits are taken to when they visit campus. The sprawling complex of weight rooms and coaches’ offices was tacked onto the side of the Sun Bowl in 2002 and is thanks in large part to Stull and his masterful selling of the university to the boosters. This is a large–often thankless–part of an AD’s job.

Now, walk into the Sun Bowl connected to that beautiful complex and what are you going to see? Well, if it’s a game day, chances are you’re going to see a loss. Unfortunately, that’s the other part of being an athletic director at a Division 1 school that has been lost on Bob Stull, especially as of late. Your ultimate goal is to win athletic events.

There was the Gary Nord era in the Sun Bowl, which ended with a 14-34 record. Then, lucky for everyone, Mike Price left his credit card in a strip club in Pensacola, Florida, and fell into Stull’s lap (pun intended).  People love to think of the Mike Price era as the “good ol’ days.” But, were they?

Price’s record overall was 48-61. No conference championships. Three bowl games. No wins.

And then there’s the Kugler era.

But, while we’re on the subject of no conference championships. Let’s continue our walk and head over to the Don Haskins center. We’ll get to Tim Floyd in a little while. Let’s start with Bob Stull’s first big hire.

Soon after Stull took over, the great Don Haskins retired and Stull had to find a replacement. Jason Rabedeaux was hired and went 46-46 in his three years in “The Bear’s” shadow.

Following Rabedeaux’s departure, Stull showed his eye for talent by hiring young coaches who would go on to produce great results at other schools in Billy Gillispie (30-32 in two years) and Doc Sadler (48-18 in two years). Then came Tony Barbee who went 82-52 in four years, and we’re all caught up to Tim Floyd.

Much in the Mike Price vein of stumbling into Stull’s office, Floyd came to UTEP via a scandal at the University of Southern California, where he was coaching and resigned, claiming that he could no longer “offer the level of enthusiasm to my duties that is deserved.” Well, welcome to UTEP!

Floyd’s tenure at UTEP has been fraught with player’s leaving the school early, recruits who did not show up at all and Floyd lashing out at the media on occasion. Floyd has amassed a 135-81 record at the school in seven seasons and like Price has never won a conference championship. The team has also never been to an NCAA Tournament.

Last season, the “Fire Floyd” signs began to permeate the Don Haskins Center as the team finished with their second 15-17 record of Floyd’s tenure.

I highlight these programs because they are the major money-making programs at UTEP. All of the other programs depend on them in order to operate. Granted, track and cross country bring in their share of national championships. But, let’s be honest, that legacy began long before Stull was around.

The other sports who depend on football and basketball for income are just as unsuccessful as they are. Volleyball, soccer, golf, tennis and others fail to reach national prominence yearly and honestly do not seem to be a priority.

Thank you, Bob Stull, for the excellent facilities and for getting what few powerful boosters we have involved. Thank you also for noticing that, perhaps, you are a little too close to the situation with Tim Floyd and that it is time for someone else to make a decision there. You definitely have set UTEP up well for the future. But, it’s time to put some winners on the field. On all of the fields.