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With back-to-back losing seasons guaranteed, where do UTEP Football and Dana Dimel go from here?

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- UTEP Football still have two games left, but with the Miners guaranteed their fifth losing season in Dana Dimel's sixth year, questions have been circling as to to whether he will see out his contract.

Dimel took over the program in 2018 and virtually had to rebuild it from the ground up after the Miners went 0-12 the season prior.

In his first two years at the helm the Miners won just two out of 22 games. The growth wasn't showing in the form of wins but it was evident Dimel was having an impact and by 2021 it was all on full display.

The Miners went 7-6 and secured their first bowl game since 2014 and just the 15th in program history. Dimel as a result got a two year contract extension and a solid pay bump.

That contract isn't set to expire until the end of next season (January 31st, 2025), but after two-straight seasons with Dimel's best roster of players at UTEP and expectations at an all time high and only disappointment to follow, it's hard to see that happening.

When ABC-7 asked Dimel why he thinks he should still be the head coach next season while countless of fans are calling for his job, he responded, "I'm not going to answer that. I think with all of our injuries, that's a very unfair question."

To Dimel's credit there have been a plethora of injuries this season, right now they have 25 or 26 injuries and a lot of them are in critical positions.

Starting quarterback Gavin Hardison hasn't played since the UNLV game and won't be back for the rest of the season after having surgery last week. Meanwhile leading wide receiver Tyrin Smith only played in three games before getting injured and there are heaps more.

"Nobody is more disappointed in how the season has played out than me," Dimel said. "But I've felt like some of these things are out of our control and that happens as a coach."

If UTEP don't think the injuries are a good enough reason to keep Dimel, they are well within their rights to let him go a season early but it would come with a hefty pay out fee.

Dimel is set to receive $850,000 next season. UTEP would have to pay him 65% of that, as well as 65% for the month of January, 2025 when his contract ends and 100% of the remainder of his 2023 contract.

Therefore his buyout after the final game of the season against Liberty would be $667,292.

It's no $76.8 million Jimbo Fisher buyout from Texas A&M but it is a lot of money for the UTEP Athletic's Department.

The decision all comes down to Athletic Director Jim Senter and how much stock he puts in the injuries this season and if he values winning or money more.

Considering UTEP's fierce rivals just up the road in the NM State Aggies are finding insane success on the field right now with back-to-back bowl games and a Conference USA Title Game in their first season in the league, something UTEP hasn't achieved in it's 19 years in CUSA, it's hard not to see Senter choose winning.

ABC-7 asked Senter on Monday if he's spoken to Dimel about his future with the program in recent weeks and he said he hasn't.

It's expected that Dimel will finish out the remaining two games, but then it will come down to Senter and what he chooses.

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Rachel Phillips

Rachel Phillips is the weekend sports anchor and reporter


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