Joe Golding Introduced as 20th Coach in UTEP Basketball History
New UTEP head coach Joe Golding injected the Miner fan base with energy during his introductory press conference, as the 20th coach in program history spoke for the first time in front of the El Paso community Wednesday afternoon at the Haskins Center.
Honest, no-nonsense and high intensity. That's the first impression Golding gave off to the Sun City.
"We have to get involvement back from the city of El Paso and UTEP," said Golding, who coached Abilene Christian from 2011-21 and built the program into a Southland Conference power. "This is a basketball town. I can promise you right now, Joe Golding and his family will be involved in this community. When you invest in a community... these seats are going to get filled."
Golding started the press conference by sending his best wishes to the Jones family after Alvin Jones Sr.—the father of Aaron and Alvin Jones—passed away due to COVID-19 complications last week. In addition, he offered his condolences to former UTEP guard Daryl Edwards, who suffered multiple injuries following a car accident.
Then, Golding jumped into his action plan for trying to turn things around. The men's basketball team hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game in 29 years and hasn't been to the Tournament since 2010.
"There are a lot of people out there that say Joe Golding is a program-builder and maybe I'm labeled that way. I believe that every institution and every program can be built a different way," Golding said. "I did not come to UTEP to spend 10 years building this program. This program has already been built."
"There is no secret why these banners were hung," Golding said. "This place used to be packed and nobody wanted to come to El Paso to play in the Don. They wanted no part of this place. We have to work hard to get butts back in these seats and get this place rocking."
Golding was among five finalists for the UTEP head coaching job, along with NM State head coach Chris Jans, Baylor assistant coach Jerome Tang, Arkansas associate head coach David Patrick and Nebraska Special to the Assistant coach Doc Sadler.
"UTEP got the right guy at the right time at the time they needed this," said current Tarleton State coach and former UTEP coach Billy Gillespie said on SportsTalk. "The Don Haskins needs to be filled up. This is the guy that's going to do it, no doubt in my mind."
As someone who was born in West Texas, Golding first saw his successes as a head coach come at his alma mater in Abilene Christian. He has posted a 158-144 (.523) overall record as a head coach and he is 1-2 in the NCAA Tournament.
"Growing up in Midland—I'm a West Texas boy—I was thrilled when I saw the 915 area code popping up in this process," Golding said. "I felt like I was back at home. I was born and raised in West Texas. This is home to me. This fit is really good.
"In elementary and junior high, I grew up when coach Haskins was coaching the Miners. I knew what he was about, I watched Glory Road a hundred times. I got my picture taken today in front of the national championship trophy. I got goosebumps and I almost cried."
- Joe Golding, UTEP head coach
Though it took time to build ACU from the ground up, including a transition from Division II to Division I, Golding isn't looking for a long-term building process here at UTEP.
"I'm not building for 10 years from now. My job at UTEP is to win in year one," he said. "The first thing I'm going to do is—these (players) right here—they are the most important things right now. If they want to stay here and be Miners, we'll make it the best opportunity for them. If they don't want to be Miners we'll help them get to the opportunity they want. From that point, we're going to recruit."
"This is a different model than Abilene Christian. We are going to use every resource we have out there to recruit the best players to El Paso and this university.
As far as the style of basketball? Golding believes in modeling his scheme to the type of players he has on his roster.
"We want to win and we'll run whatever system we need to run to win basketball games," he said. "We found a niche at Abilene Christian that worked for us and we recruited to that model. UTEP is a different deal. The way we've played defense is something we've done for a long time that's not going to change."
And to wrap up his introductory presser, Golding had a message for Miner fans: "I'll be at Lucy's Cafe for breakfast to pay tribute to coach Haskins.. Anyone that wants to see me, I'll be there at 8:30."