Good for Dana Dimel.
The Kansas State offensive coordinator longed for a chance to become a head coach again.
He would have loved for that opportunity to be with K-State, where he played offensive tackle, got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant and was retained as a full-time staff member when Bill Snyder was hired before the 1989 season.
That opportunity, however, never came to fruition.
Dimel did not gain an endorsement from Snyder, who has backed his son, Sean, the Cats’ special teams coordinator. Over time, Dimel’s relationship seemed to fray.
Not to the point the overall dynamic was toxic. The Wildcats do not win four of their last five games this season if relationships among coaches were totally dysfunctional.
Yet we wondered sometimes. Play-calling, including a heavy reliance on the quarterback run game and season-ending injuries to two QBs, was questioned. Not just during a mid-season funk that left the Cats in need of two closing victories for a winning record and the Cactus Bowl bid that went with it. Many victories also had head-scratching moments.
Even Snyder was critical of the play selection against Iowa State and said the Cats needed to pass the ball more in the first half of that comeback win.
Thing is, Snyder wears a headset. He can provide input and overrule play calls.
Also, he does not let his offensive or defensive coordinator answer for their moves. That makes it difficult to fully comprehend the process that goes into play-calling.
In the case of Dimel, the presence of his son on the squad presented another variable. Winston Dimel is a good fullback, though any calls incorporating the Manhattan junior as a rusher or receiver were invariably scrutinized.
Enough dissatisfaction had bubbled to the surface to make the timing of Dimel’s departure from K-State feel right.
Especially for him since accepting an offer to take over at UTEP allows Dimel, 55, another crack at overseeing an operation and answering for it.
Dimel did so before at Wyoming and Houston with mixed results, and this time will try to resurrect a program with even fewer resources. Making matters even more difficult is the winless record the Miners posted this past season as members of Conference-USA. UTSA was the only 0-12 team in the Bowl Subdivision.
Seems like a massive undertaking.
“I see the great potential,’’ Dimel said at his introductory press conference. “Everything that we want to do is going to be done in a positive method, a positive manner.’’
That I do not doubt. Whenever he was made available at K-State’s media day or bowl press conferences, Dimel often preferred to accentuate the strengths in players and cite their potential.
He may have to dig a little to find such promise in the Miners, who he has scouted to some extent already on game film.
Over the next few weeks, Dimel will be split two different directions. He will remain the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator through the Cactus Bowl, while attempting to arrange a staff at UTEP and also work at recruiting.
Seems like a massive undertaking … which could have been avoided.
There is plenty for Dimel to address at UTEP in the short term in order to get a jump on the “long-term consistency’’ he said he wants to establish in El Paso.
In addition, the Cactus Bowl, and the challenge presented by UCLA, would be a good opportunity for a member of the K-State staff — pass game coordinator Andre Coleman makes the most sense — to audition to become the new offensive coordinator.
Assuming, of course, Bill Snyder returns next season as coach.
To date, nothing has happened to indicate Snyder won’t be back, and the Cats figure to have an experienced offense in 2018, engineered by a promising young quarterback, Skylar Thompson.
That should make the transition for a new offensive coordinator a bit easier.
Reason to thank Dimel. That, as well as the 20-plus years of service he gave to K-State football with his rags-to-riches involvement.
Contact Kevin Haskin at firstname.lastname@example.org or @KevinHaskin on Twitter.