Rodney Terry, who led Fresno State to the 2016 Mountain West Conference Tournament title and three postseason bids in the last five years, was appointed the 19th head coach in UTEP men’s basketball history on Monday.
“We are delighted to welcome Coach Terry to El Paso and we’re excited about the future of UTEP Basketball under his leadership,” UTEP President Diana Natalicio said. “He’s enjoyed a very successful tenure as Fresno State’s head coach, and he’s well-known as an effective recruiter with deep ties to the Lone Star State. We look very much forward to bringing him back to Texas to usher in a new era of Miner Ball.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Rodney Terry to the UTEP family,” Director of Athletics Jim Senter said. “He’s a great fit for us with his Texas connections and his proven track record as a coach and recruiter. He’s a proven winner and will represent this proud program well.”
“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, 49, guided the Bulldogs to a record of 126-108 in seven seasons as head coach (2011-18), including 20-win campaigns in four of the last five years. Fresno State compiled a 62-58 mark in Mountain West Conference play over the last seven years, with double-digit victories in each of the last four campaigns.
A native of Angelton, Texas, Terry makes his return to the Lone Star State. He played his collegiate ball at St. Edward’s University in Austin, and began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant with the Hilltoppers in 1990. Following three coaching stints at high schools in the state of Texas – including as the head coach at Somerville HS and his alma mater Angleton HS – Terry served as an assistant coach at Baylor (1996-98), UNC Wilmington (1998-02) and Texas (2002-11) prior to landing the head coaching position at Fresno State.
In seven seasons at Fresno State, Terry coached players who earned a total of 15 All-Conference accolades, including two-time (2015-16) first team All-Mountain West guard Marvelle Harris. This year, guard Deshon Taylor became the second Bulldog to garner first team All-League honors under Terry’s watch. Terry also coached second team All-League Kevin Olekaibe (2012) and Tyler Johnson (2014) and third teamers Taylor (2017) and Bryson Williams (2018). He coached the MWC Freshman of the Year Paul Watson in 2014 and the MWC Player of the Year Harris in 2016. Three of his players – Harris (2015-16), Jaron Hopkins (2017) and Taylor (2018) – earned spots on the MWC All-Defensive Team.
Under Terry’s direction, Fresno State forged 21 victories during the 2013-14 season, 25 in 2015-16, 20 in 2016-17 and 21 in 2017-18. The Bulldogs went 10-8 in the MWC in 2014-15, 13-5 in 2015-16 (second place), and 11-7 in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.
In 2016 Fresno State knocked off UNLV (95-82), Colorado State (64-56) and San Diego State (68-63) at the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament – the Bulldogs’ first trip to the “Big Dance” in 15 years. Harris was tabbed the MWC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Fresno State’s 25 wins in 2015-16 were the third-most in school history and the Bulldogs closed the season strong, winning 11 of their last 12 games.
Terry also led Fresno State to an NIT appearance in 2017, and a CBI bid in 2014. The Bulldogs finished runner-up in the CBI in 2014, and their chase to the finals included a 61-56 win at UTEP.
His 2014-15 squad notched the school’s first win over a top-25 team (San Diego State) in 13 years. The 2013-14 Bulldogs posted the program’s first 20-win season and postseason appearance in seven years while making a dramatic turnaround in MWC play. Fresno State rallied from a 1-7 league start to finish 9-9. During the 2012-13 campaign, the Bulldogs secured their first-ever win at UNLV.
Known as an outstanding recruiting and bench coach, Terry has coached two national players of the year and has been a part of 12 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
His nine-year tenure as an assistant coach at Texas produced nine NCAA Tournament appearances including a Final Four berth in 2003, trips to the Elite Eight in 2006 and 2008, and four Sweet 16 showings. The Longhorns fashioned a mark of 232-80 during that span, the winningest nine-year period in school history. They posted 30 victories during both the 2005-06 (30) and 2007-08 (school-record 31) seasons, and 28 during the 2010-11 campaign. In January of 2010, Texas reached the no. 1 spot in the country for the first time in school history.
During Terry’s time on the bench, a total of 10 McDonald’s All-Americans made their way to the UT campus (Brad Buckman 2002, LaMarcus Aldridge 2004, Daniel Gibson 2004, Mike Williams 2004, D.J. Augustin 2006, Kevin Durant 2006, Jai Lucas 2007, Avery Bradley 2009, Cory Joseph 2010, Tristan Thompson 2010). Terry also ran point on the recruitment of 2011 UT signee Myck Kabongo, who competed in the 2011 McDonald’s All-American Game. Texas’ recruiting class was rated number one nationally in 2004, third in 2006 and 2009 and eighth in 2010.
Texas’ National Player of the Year recipients were T.J. Ford in 2003 and Kevin Durant in 2007. Ford (2003) and Durant (2007) joined D.J. Augustin (2008) as consensus first team All-Americans during Terry’s time as an assistant, and Augustin claimed the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard in 2008.
In all, Terry coached 13 players at Texas that were chosen in the NBA Draft, including nine first-round selections and five lottery picks in Ford, Aldridge, Durant, Augustin and Thompson. Texas was the only school in the country to have a Top-10 pick in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 NBA Draft, and the Longhorns had three players chosen in 2010 and 2012.
Prior to joining Rick Barnes’ staff in Austin, Terry assisted coach Jerry Wainwright at UNC Wilmington for four seasons. The Seahawks made three postseason tournament appearances during this stretch, reaching the NCAA’s in 2000 and 2002 and the NIT in 2001. During the 2001-02 season, UNC Wilmington set a school record with 23 victories and scored the initial NCAA Tournament win in school history, upsetting USC 98-89 in overtime in the first round. Terry assembled a top-30 recruiting class at UNC Wilmington and, during the 2001-02 season, was named the co-mid/low-major Assistant Coach of the Year by TheInsiderHoops.com, which he shared with Valparaiso’s Scott Drew (now the head coach at Baylor).
Prior to joining the staff at UNCW, Terry served two years as an assistant coach at Baylor (1996-98). He spent one season (1995-96) as the varsity coach at Angleton High School and two years as the head coach at Somerville High School. Terry posted a 15-13 mark at Angleton and a 49-21 record at Somerville, leading the school to the Class 2A state semifinals in 1993-94. He also worked for two years (1991-93) as an assistant coach at Austin Bowie High School.
Terry earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Physical Education from St. Edward’s University in 1990. During his collegiate career, he was a three-year starter at point guard and a three-time Academic All-Big State Conference selection. The Hilltoppers won the Big State Conference title during his freshman season (1986-87), and he served as team captain during his junior and senior campaigns.