Texas-El Paso fired football coach David Lee, one day after the Miners' suffered their fifth straight loss.

Lee will be replaced by defensive coordinator Charlie Bailey. The firing followed Saturday's 45-29 loss to Utah."It was a very difficult decision, the most difficult decision I've made since I've been at UTEP," athletic director John Thompson said Sunday.

Thompson said he assigned Lee to other duties within the athletic department, but Lee has given no indication whether he'll accept. Lee has about 21/2 years left on his contract, which the school would have to buy out if he refuses the reassignment.

Lee couldn't be reached for comment Sunday night.

Eddie Mullens, UTEP's sports information director, said speculation that Lee would be released had been circulating at the university throughout the Miners' 1-6 season.

"He's won two ballgames here in the last two years. He's a very good recruiter and a hard worker; he just didn't get it turned around, unfortunately," Mullens said.

Lee's record at UTEP was 11-41-1, and his best season was 4-7-1 in 1991.