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The Fresno State men’s basketball coach Rodney Terry leaves the ‘Dogs for head coach position at the University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP), it was announced on March 12, 2018. Assistant coach Byron Jones will take over as interim head coach. (Fresno State Athletics)

Head basketball coach Rodney Terry accepts UTEP job

Fresno State men’s basketball coach Rodney Terry’s time as a Bulldog is over. He has accepted an offer from University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) to become head coach there.

The El Paso Times reported last week that Terry was one of nine candidates to interview for the position. The UTEP athletics department confirmed his hiring via Twitter Monday afternoon. 

“I’m super excited about an unbelievable opportunity at the University of Texas at El Paso,” Terry said. “It’s a program that has experienced a very high level of success and has a great basketball tradition that I’m looking forward to building upon.”

Terry is joining a UTEP program coming off a disappointing season, finishing 11-20. But the school is more financially invested in basketball than Fresno State, he says. UTEP spends about $850,000 more on its basketball program than Fresno State.

In his seven years as a Bulldog, Terry finished with a 126-108 record. He led the team to a Mountain West Conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016 and then an NIT appearance the following year.

This season, the ‘Dogs finished 21-11 and were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament by San Diego State. Their performance did not earn them an invitation to a postseason tournament.

“Coach Terry did a wonderful job building our men’s basketball program into a Mountain West champion and a regular contender in our conference,” said Fresno State interim athletic director Steve Robertello. “We appreciate his service to our university for the past seven years.”

Terry took over a program that was riddled with NCAA violations prior to his tenure. The team has been investigation-and-controversy-free since his arrival.

“Coach Terry has led our men’s basketball team with integrity and a passion for excellence. He leaves a strong foundation upon which we will aggressively build in the coming years,” said Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro. “I thank him and wish him the best at UTEP.”

Fresno State announced via its athletics’ page that a national search for Terry’s replacement is already underway.

For now, Byron Jones will lead the basketball team as interim head coach.

Jones has served as the ‘Dogs assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the last seven seasons.

“The future is bright for Fresno State basketball as the foundation is in place to be a Top 25 program, compete for conference championships and advance in postseason play,” Robertello said. “Our administration, coaches, staff and student-athletes have demonstrated a daily commitment to excellence on the court and in the classroom.”