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The UTEP Miners is the name given to the sports teams of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). They are informally referred to as the Miners, UTEP, or Texas–El Paso. UTEP was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1967 to 2005, when they joined Rice, Tulsa, and SMU in leaving the WAC for Conference USA. The UTEP Miners are best known as the only team in Texas to win a NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. UTEP's colors are orange and blue and the mascot is a miner named Paydirt Pete.
|University||University of Texas at El Paso|
|Athletic director||Jim Senter|
|Location||El Paso, Texas|
|Football stadium||Sun Bowl Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Don Haskins Center|
|Nickname||Miners and Lady Miners|
|Fight song||Miners Fight|
|Colors||Dark Blue, Orange, and Silver Accent|
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Cross country||Cross country|
|Track & field†||Soccer|
|Track & field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor|
Playing their first game in 1914, the UTEP Miners football team currently competes in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The team plays its games in the Sun Bowl Stadium, and head coach Mike Price recently retired from his 9th and final season at UTEP in 2012.
The winner of the UTEP vs. New Mexico State University football game receives a pair of traveling trophies: The Silver Spade and The Brass Spittoon. The first spade used for this purpose was an old prospector's shovel dug up from an abandoned mine in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1947. This was the symbol of victory, and the spade was given to the winner of the football game between the Miners and Aggies each year.
The idea of the present Silver Spade was from UTEP student Don Henderson, the student association president and now a very successful El Paso businessman and former mayor of the city. In 1955 Henderson secured the present spade and each year the score of the game is engraved on the blade.
Perhaps the idea behind the spade is the fact that at the time the prospector's spade was uncovered, both schools' major field of study had use for the tool, mining and metallurgy for the College of Mines and agriculture at then New Mexico A&M.
The Brass Spittoon, officially known as the Mayor's Cup, came into existence in 1982 when the mayors of the two cities; Jonathan Rogers of El Paso, and David Steinberg of Las Cruces decided to present another traveling trophy to the winner of the UTEP vs New Mexico State University game. This game is more commonly known as "The Battle of I-10".
1966 Texas Western basketball teamEdit
As Texas Western, the Miners won the 1966 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. The 72–65 victory over Kentucky at The University of Maryland's Cole Field House in College Park, Maryland is considered one of the most important games in the history of college basketball. It marked the first time that a team started 5 African-American players in a title game. Contrary to popular belief, this game was not an "upset" since Kentucky and Texas Western entered the game ranked #1 and #2 respectively, with each team having only one loss. At this time, Kentucky had no African-American players (though Adolph Rupp gave formal scholarship offers to black players as early as 1964, it was not until Tom Payne in 1971 that a black player finally joined the Wildcats). The impact of the game was pivotal primarily because it occurred during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
The title team has been chronicled throughout the American media, including the books Basketball's Biggest Upset by Ray Sanchez and When the Walls Came Tumbling Down by Frank Fitzpatrick, and the 2006 Disney movie, Glory Road.
The team was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
NCAA Division I national championshipsEdit
UTEP's sports programs have won a total of 21 NCAA Division I national championships. UTEP is currently tied for 10th overall among schools in Men's Sports Division I championships.
UTEP students and alumni participated in track and field events.
|Mickaël Hanany||high jump||France|
|Blessing Okagbare||long jump||Nigeria|
|women's 4×100 meter relay||Nigeria|
|Oludamola Osayomi||100M women||Nigeria|
|Oludamola Osayomi||200M women||Nigeria|
|Halimat Ismaila||100M women||Nigeria|
|Churandy Martina||100M men||Netherlands Antilles|
|Churandy Martina||200M men||Netherlands Antilles|
|Ronalds Arājs||200M men||Latvia|
|Caimin Douglas||men 4×100 meter relay||Netherlands|
|Erma-Gene Evans||javelin||Saint Lucia|
|Alexandros Papadimitriou||hammer throw men||Greece|
UTEP owns the two largest stadiums in El Paso:
- Sun Bowl Stadium, seating capacity 51,500, opened its doors in 1963 and is currently the home to the UTEP football team and to the annual Hyundai Sun Bowl game.
- Don Haskins Center, seating capacity 12,000, was built in 1976 and is primarily used by the men's and women's basketball teams.
- University Field (UTEP), seating capacity 500, was built in 1991 and hosts the women's soccer team.
- Kidd Field, former home to the Miners football team and current home of the track and field teams.
- The University of Texas at El Paso Graphic Identity Guide (PDF). Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- "UTEP leaves WAC, joins Conference USA". May 1, 2004. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- "ESPN Classic - Texas Western's 1966 title left lasting legacy". espn.go.com. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- "Nevada Rifle Team Joins Patriot Rifle Conference". Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 19, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 8, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)