Six games into what was shaping up to be a dismal UTEP basketball season, the coach of the Miners decided he’s ready to cede his position to someone else.
Tim Floyd abruptly announced his retirement on Monday night immediately after UTEP fell to 1-5 this season with a 66-52 home loss to Lamar.
“I think it’s time for somebody else to have the opportunity to have the joy that I’ve had, the agony that I’ve had, the acclaim that I’ve had and the heartbreak that I’ve had,” Floyd told reporters in El Paso. “I want what’s best for this school. This seems like a great time with a new athletic director for him to evaluate this program and try to make a decision on what he thinks is best for this program moving forward.”
Whereas Floyd enjoyed consistent success in previous college coaching stops at New Orleans, Iowa State and USC, he struggled to duplicate that at UTEP. The Miners neither won Conference USA nor made the NCAA tournament in any of his seven seasons as head coach.
Floyd, 63, won a combined 45 games during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, but the program slipped thereafter. The coach also appeared to grow more and more dissatisfied with the modern landscape of college basketball after heralded recruit Isaac Hamilton backed out of his letter of intent and went to UCLA and several other key players transferred.
That contributed to Floyd’s decision to retire, as did the desire to spend more time with his family and some undisclosed health issues that have cropped up in recent weeks. Floyd said he has not spoken to UTEP’s new athletic director but insisted that hire had nothing to do with the timing of his decision to retire.
“It’s not about anything like that,” Floyd said.
Floyd’s retirement ends a colorful career rife with notable victories on the floor and memorable incidents off it. He went to five NCAA tournaments at New Orleans and Iowa State before securing the chance to replace Phil Jackson as head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
While Floyd resigned in Chicago without ever making the playoffs and then lasted just one season as coach of the New Orleans Hornets, he went on to have a successful, albeit scandal-tainted, second act in college basketball. His USC teams reached three straight NCAA tournaments from 2007-09 before the school cut him loose after allegations surfaced that he paid a handler of former Trojan star O.J. Mayo.
Since then, Floyd has been more nationally relevant for some off-beat encounters than for actually winning basketball games.
There was the time he broke up a fight in a Southern California casino. Or the shouting match he got into with USC’s Andy Enfield after accusing the Trojans of tampering. Or the time he had to be escorted off the floor by police after getting ejected arguing with the referees. Or the contentious press conference he held where he presented a 17-page document designed to disprove something a local radio host said about him.
Floyd was never dull but UTEP fans begun to grow weary of his act as the Miners fell farther behind their Conference USA peers. The Miners had already fallen against Boise State, South Carolina, Appalachian State and New Mexico State before Monday’s loss to Lamar.
After the game, Floyd expressed hope that UTEP would turn things around this season but made it clear he would not be part of any reversal in fortune.
“I’m retired as of today,” Floyd said. “This is my last game as a coach. I’m going to move forward with my life.”
– – – – – – –