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UT-RGV T&F coach fired
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ACUTrackfan Offline
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UT-RGV T&F coach fired
As you can see by my handle, my #1 sport to follow is T&F. I was totally shocked to see Darren Flowers, the T&F coach at UT-RGV getting fired. The reason I read in the rather terse press release was that he had made enough progress as HC there. That seems rather ludicrous when both the men's and women's team got 3rd place at the WAC outdoor championships and UT-RGV used to be a joke in collegiate T&F circles.

Anyone on this board have insight as to why this move was made?
07-08-2021 05:53 AM
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WACfan86 Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
Hi and welcome aboard I wish I would know exactly what had happened that led to his axing. I know he was an independent recording artist releasing a few singles during the covid times (the early parts of it) and having the program on the rise too. I wish I could help.
07-08-2021 07:49 AM
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ACUTrackfan Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
(07-08-2021 07:49 AM)WACfan86 Wrote:  Hi and welcome aboard I wish I would know exactly what had happened that led to his axing. I know he was an independent recording artist releasing a few singles during the covid times (the early parts of it) and having the program on the rise too. I wish I could help.

86, I have wondered if this music angle could have been the thing that got Flowers in trouble with Conque. However, it was just odd to me after Flowers had done an admirable job in raising up the program from the doldrums.
07-08-2021 09:25 AM
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
I was curious enough about this to do a little digging. Apparently, UT-RGV is slashing the T&F budget pretty drastically and the former coach was pretty vocal about speaking out about that and it cost him his job. I will be curious to see who the UT-RGV AD brings in as head coach. It will also be interesting to see the size of the coaching staff for the sport. In 2020-21, UT-RGV had a head coach and 3 assistants, which was a pretty typical coaching staff for a lower-level D-1 program. However, if you end up cutting your roster size by 25-50%, do you have to have 4 coaches.

UT-RGV could always go the path of Cal Baptist and only bring in only 8-10 scholarship distance runners in each gender (no sprinters, no jumpers, no throwers, no vaulters) and they bring in 5-7 walkons distance runners per gender to reach the minimum roster size required for the NCAA of 14. That way you save on scholarship costs, travel costs, uniform costs and you get by with 1-2 coaches at most and save a lot on salaries. Cal Baptist will never challenge for a conference title in indoor or outdoor T&F, but they field really good XC teams.
07-10-2021 01:17 PM
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Todor Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
(07-10-2021 01:17 PM)ACUTrackfan Wrote:  I was curious enough about this to do a little digging. Apparently, UT-RGV is slashing the T&F budget pretty drastically and the former coach was pretty vocal about speaking out about that and it cost him his job. I will be curious to see who the UT-RGV AD brings in as head coach. It will also be interesting to see the size of the coaching staff for the sport. In 2020-21, UT-RGV had a head coach and 3 assistants, which was a pretty typical coaching staff for a lower-level D-1 program. However, if you end up cutting your roster size by 25-50%, do you have to have 4 coaches.

UT-RGV could always go the path of Cal Baptist and only bring in only 8-10 scholarship distance runners in each gender (no sprinters, no jumpers, no throwers, no vaulters) and they bring in 5-7 walkons distance runners per gender to reach the minimum roster size required for the NCAA of 14. That way you save on scholarship costs, travel costs, uniform costs and you get by with 1-2 coaches at most and save a lot on salaries. Cal Baptist will never challenge for a conference title in indoor or outdoor T&F, but they field really good XC teams.

If I remember correctly, when Cal Bap was NAIA and either winning national championships in track or up very near the top, they had full track squads. Then, during a cutback, they either dropped it entirely for a year or 2 and then became CC and distance track. Or maybe they went immediately to just distance. This would be late 90's to early 2000's era. Not sure if they ever had full squads while they were D2 at all.

Either way, its a much more practical move then having mens CC and no mens track like NMSU. Its a poor setup and has to be very difficult to recruit. I get why its done that way, but I don't like it.
(This post was last modified: 07-10-2021 06:37 PM by Todor.)
07-10-2021 06:36 PM
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Vaqueronation Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
I wonder if this has anything to do with creating the football team. Taking the money from T&F and pumping it into football.
07-10-2021 10:28 PM
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WACfan86 Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
(07-10-2021 10:28 PM)Vaqueronation Wrote:  I wonder if this has anything to do with creating the football team. Taking the money from T&F and pumping it into football.

Makes me wonder if Men's T&F will be cut in general to allow football but I think it is not possible... Even if they have the most friendly travel schedule where all competitions are in Texas
07-11-2021 07:34 PM
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TexasTerror Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
They just announced the new head coach

For those who thought de-emphasizing sprints and going distance focused program, this coach is not that based on her own personal experience and some of the highlights on her resume.


07-20-2021 12:45 PM
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ACUTrackfan Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
(07-20-2021 12:45 PM)TexasTerror Wrote:  They just announced the new head coach

For those who thought de-emphasizing sprints and going distance focused program, this coach is not that based on her own personal experience and some of the highlights on her resume.



Terror, Shareese Hicks is best-known as a sprint coach -- I can't imagine that UTRGV will now de-emphasize sprints. But, with scholarships being cut rather significantly, I would imagine there will have to be cuts somewhere. It will be interesting to see how the UTRGV roster is constructed this year -- that may tell if the Vaqueros will de-emphasize any particular discipline. Back to the hiring of Coach Hicks -- it is a solid hire getting a respected coach.

With the NCAA scholarship limit for track and field being 12.6 for men and 18 for women, it is very hard to have a well-rounded team even if you have a full scholarship complement, particularly for the men. Both SFA and SHSU have built their success by giving the full complement of scholarships, but they were the only SLC schools that gave the full scholarship totals, except for possibly UIW. ACU still manages to field solid teams although they do not give a full complement of scholarships.

On the WAC side, I am fairly certain that GCU fully funds their scholarships. I believe that NMSU gives their full women's scholarship total or they are very close to it. UTRGV has already decided to lower their scholarships from the fully funded stage. Do you know if any other WAC schools give full T&F scholarships? Looking at their rosters, it does not appear to me that anyone else is giving the full complement of scholarships.
07-20-2021 03:34 PM
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WACfan86 Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
How do you know if UTRGV has scholarship cuts in this sport... I am rather interested. (I follow the school just not the sport itself)


(07-20-2021 03:34 PM)ACUTrackfan Wrote:  
(07-20-2021 12:45 PM)TexasTerror Wrote:  They just announced the new head coach

For those who thought de-emphasizing sprints and going distance focused program, this coach is not that based on her own personal experience and some of the highlights on her resume.



Terror, Shareese Hicks is best-known as a sprint coach -- I can't imagine that UTRGV will now de-emphasize sprints. But, with scholarships being cut rather significantly, I would imagine there will have to be cuts somewhere. It will be interesting to see how the UTRGV roster is constructed this year -- that may tell if the Vaqueros will de-emphasize any particular discipline. Back to the hiring of Coach Hicks -- it is a solid hire getting a respected coach.

With the NCAA scholarship limit for track and field being 12.6 for men and 18 for women, it is very hard to have a well-rounded team even if you have a full scholarship complement, particularly for the men. Both SFA and SHSU have built their success by giving the full complement of scholarships, but they were the only SLC schools that gave the full scholarship totals, except for possibly UIW. ACU still manages to field solid teams although they do not give a full complement of scholarships.

On the WAC side, I am fairly certain that GCU fully funds their scholarships. I believe that NMSU gives their full women's scholarship total or they are very close to it. UTRGV has already decided to lower their scholarships from the fully funded stage. Do you know if any other WAC schools give full T&F scholarships? Looking at their rosters, it does not appear to me that anyone else is giving the full complement of scholarships.
07-21-2021 05:03 PM
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ACUTrackfan Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
WACfan86, I called around to several of my D-1 and D-2 (remember that Darren Flowers used to be the coach at D-1 T&F powerhouse WTAM) head coach track friends and that is what I was told was happening at UT-RGV. Depending on which coach I talked with the range of cuts went from 20% to 50% of scholarships cut -- so the reality is probably around a third of their scholarships cut. That would be closer to the range of where they were before Flowers arrived. One of the ways they got Flowers to come to UT-RGV was to raise the the scholarships to the full complement. With him leaving, it would be easy to lower the scholarship level down to at or below where they were before he arrived.

The other piece of saving money in a sport like T&F is to cut staff. Coach Flowers had three assistants -- he coached the sprinters, hurdlers and middle distance; he brought an assistant from WTAM who handled distance runners; and he had an assistant for throws and an assistant for jumps and multis. Definitely on the lower end of staff sizes for a D-1 school, but still okay. I would be surprised to see the distance coach stay, since he came with Coach Flowers. Coach Hicks has not announced anything about who will make up her staff of assistants.
(This post was last modified: 07-23-2021 04:02 PM by ACUTrackfan.)
07-23-2021 04:00 PM
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WACfan86 Offline
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
This is so effin "BRILLIANT" response to the "T"

(07-23-2021 04:00 PM)ACUTrackfan Wrote:  WACfan86, I called around to several of my D-1 and D-2 (remember that Darren Flowers used to be the coach at D-1 T&F powerhouse WTAM) head coach track friends and that is what I was told was happening at UT-RGV. Depending on which coach I talked with the range of cuts went from 20% to 50% of scholarships cut -- so the reality is probably around a third of their scholarships cut. That would be closer to the range of where they were before Flowers arrived. One of the ways they got Flowers to come to UT-RGV was to raise the the scholarships to the full complement. With him leaving, it would be easy to lower the scholarship level down to at or below where they were before he arrived.

The other piece of saving money in a sport like T&F is to cut staff. Coach Flowers had three assistants -- he coached the sprinters, hurdlers and middle distance; he brought an assistant from WTAM who handled distance runners; and he had an assistant for throws and an assistant for jumps and multis. Definitely on the lower end of staff sizes for a D-1 school, but still okay. I would be surprised to see the distance coach stay, since he came with Coach Flowers. Coach Hicks has not announced anything about who will make up her staff of assistants.
07-23-2021 05:36 PM
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
I had no idea NMSU did not field a track and field men's team. Oh the memories of a prior era and a great NMSU quarter-miler named Adolf Plummer. He was a special athlete.
07-25-2021 09:35 PM
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
RCI, Adolph Plummer was indeed a special athlete in his day. But, he actually ran for UNM -- no NMSU. UNM was in the WAC at that time, so he was a multi-time All-American running under the WAC banner. His race against ACU (ACC at that time) Olympian Earl Young in 1961 is still legend among old-time T&F fans. Adolph not only won the NCAA title in 1961, he actually broke the world record earlier in that same season.
07-27-2021 11:06 AM
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
Why are they cutting scholarships? Is that scholarship money going to pay for higher costs of scholarships? I assume scholarships have gone up at all schools. Was funding to athletics cut by the school? Thus athletics made the cuts to sports that aren't a priority?
08-23-2021 10:33 PM
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RE: UT-RGV T&F coach fired
Hilldog, when you have even incremental cuts in athletic budgets, it is always the non-revenue generating sports that will bear the brunt of the cuts, for obvious reasons, but still painful for someone like me that loves T&F. Clemson is not exactly hurting for income, but they still tried to cut men's T&F. They sure weren't going to cut Dabo's $7 million salary!

I have seen on the GCU twitter feed that at least 4 UT-RGV T&F athletes have transferred there this summer:

-Zarrey Sams was the high point woman for the Vaqueros at the WAC meet, scoring 24 points (2nd in the LJ and TJ, 5th in the 100H, 7th in the 100 and ran on the 2nd place 4x4 relay

-Max Carmona won the WAC men's 800 and ran on the 2nd place 4x4 relay for 12 points

-Harry Barthelemy was 2nd in the TJ, 4th in the LJ and 5th in the HJ for 17 points for UTRGV

-Mariano Hernandez ran on the 1st place sprint relay and 2nd place 4x4 relay for 4.5 points. But that is 33.5 points total for the defectors who are moving to GCU.

I don't think that any of these athletes left because their scholarships were cut or reduced (maybe Hernandez could have been a reduction target). When a program reduces scholarships, they usually don't have to cut any athletes -- athletes leave due to graduation or because of their desire to jump off of a sinking ship. An extreme example? Back in the 1970's, when ACC/ACU dropped from NCAA to NAIA, they had their T&F scholarship limit drop from 23 to 7, but did not have to cut a single scholarship. Almost every member of the team transferred elsewhere due to their disgust with the direction of the program.
08-24-2021 09:15 AM
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