EL PASO, Texas —
UTEP hired Sean Kugler as its new coach Monday, bringing in a former Miners’ player and coach to replace the retired Mike Price.
Kugler spent almost three years as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line coach, following stints with the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions. Kugler has earned praise for his work this year with a Steelers offensive line that has seen its share of injuries.
He also worked at Boise State. He played for current UTEP athletic director Bob Stull, graduating in 1988, and later coached at the school for eight seasons.
“I spent 13 years as a player and coach at UTEP and loved every minute of it,” Kugler said in a statement. “I’m excited about starting a new chapter in my coaching career at a place that has so many fond memories.”
Kugler was on UTEP’s staff from 1993 to 2000.
“He brings a lot of enthusiasm and experience and, most importantly, has a great love for UTEP and the city of El Paso,” Stull said.
UTEP says a salary is still being negotiated. The 46-year-old Kugler is a native of Freeport, N.Y., and has three children. His oldest son, Robert, is a lineman at Purdue. Patrick, his younger son, is a Michigan recruit.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin congratulated Kugler on the move.
“The Miners are getting a tremendous coach and even though we are sad to see him leave the Steelers, we are excited for him to return to his alma mater and lead their program,” Tomlin said.
Kugler follows Price, best known in coaching for reaching the Rose Bowl twice at Washington State but losing the job at Alabama after a drinking binge. Price retired Nov. 19 after nine years at UTEP, which he led to 8-4 records and bowl games in his first two years before failing to achieve a winning record since.