UTEP Completes Football Defensive Staff
Jan. 15, 2010
UTEP Football Coach Mike Price announced the appointment of Adam Gonzaga as safeties coach and former Miner Robert Rodriguez as linebackers coach on Friday, filling out the Miners' defensive staff.
Andre Patterson was hired as defensive coordinator earlier this week.
"Adam brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our defensive staff," Price said. "He has coached at every level and is a perfect fit for us. He was highly recommended both by Andre Patterson and Bob Connelly, our co-offensive coordinator.
"Robert is a natural leader and coach. Everyone in the community is super-excited to have a hometown guy as a coach at UTEP."
Gonzaga comes to UTEP from Ohio Northern University, where he spent the 2009 season as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator. The Polar Bears were 8-2 and ended the year on a seven-game winning streak. Ohio Northern was particularly stout defensively, yielding an average of 19.3 points and 300.3 yards per game. The Polar Bears surrendered 14 points or fewer in five of their last six games and picked off 15 passes on the year with 31 sacks.
A 1992 graduate of Azusa Pacific University, Gonzaga was also a member of the staffs at Stanford (1992), Pacific (1993-95), Montana State (1996), Lafayette (1997-98), Connecticut (1998), Greenville College (1999-2000), Navy (2001), Northwood (2002-06) and Bowling Green State (2007-08). He was a recruiting assistant at Stanford.
He and his wife, Heidi, have two daughters, Alexis (14) and Addison (9).
Rodriguez has been elevated to linebackers coach after working as defensive program coordinator during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. One of the greatest linebackers in school history, he ranks fifth on the all-time Miner tackle chart with 443 stops, including 33 for losses. He led the Western Athletic Confeence in tackles in three of his four seasons at UTEP and was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, when he had 121 tackles and 16 tackles for losses.
Rodriguez also spent time with the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans in the NFL (2005) before playing for Cologne in NFL Europe (2006) and Calgary in the CFL (2006-07), prior to returning to the Sun City.
The El Paso native and Montwood High School graduate is married to the former Holly Taylor, who played soccer for the Miners from 2000-03. He graduated from UTEP in 2004.