Headline: El Paso High to dedicate museum

By Ray Sanchez 9/29/19

El Paso High School one of the most beautiful high schools ever constructed, has quite a history. It was first named Central High School and it opened in 1884 as a two-story building at Myrtle Avenue and Campbell Street. It had 10 rooms and an enrollment of 222. In 1885 a high school was established on the second floor. The first high school graduating class consisted of two students, Kate Moore and George Prentiss Robinson.

Then, in 1902, El Paso had a solidly built high school at Arizona and Campbell Streets but it was nothing like what was to come.

A NEW EL PASO High School opened in 1916. It was such a magnificent building it has received many honors, architectural and otherwise, throughout its existence. It was often referred to as “The Lady on the Hill.”

The firm of Trost and Trost designed it and it was built at a cost of $500,000, an unheard-of amount for a high school in those days. The Greco-Roman features included marble floors, classical columns, classroom floors of hard maple and one of the first concrete stadiums in the entire country that could seat 12,000 people.

It was the talk of the country.

I’M TELLING you all this because there will be big doings at El Paso High School this coming week. It’s not only Homecoming Week but the grand opening of the EPHS Alumni Association Museum is scheduled. It will be held on Friday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. It took four years of fundraising and construction but the museum became a reality.

The museum is located on the corner of Cliff Street and Virginia Street on El Paso High School property. If you plan to attend, RSVP to Araceli Almanza at 915-545-2246 by Sept 30, 2019

OF COURSE, there will be other festivities during the week. For instance:

Tuesday, October 1 – Discussion on safety issues with state representative Lina Ortega in the El Paso High auditorium.

Thursday, October 3 – EPHS Outstanding Ex luncheon at the El Paso Club at 5 p.m.

Friday, October 4 – Grand opening of the El Paso Alumni Association Museum from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., a pep rally in the C. D. Jarvis gym at 2:30 p.m. and a homecoming football game, El Paso High against Irvin High, at 7 p.m.

TRIVIA QUESTION: When was the last baseball game played in Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers? Answer at end of column.

UTEP WILL also be observing Homecoming next week, and the UTEP Alumni Association also has big plans. For instance:

Thursday, October 3 – Meet and Greet at the Hilton Garden Inn, 111 West University Avenue, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Friday, October 4 – Bar-B-Que from 12 to 3 p.m. at the McCall Neighborhood Center, 3231 East Wyoming Avenue.

Saturday, October 5 – Round Table Summit at 10 a.m. at Union Building East on the UTEP campus, Pickaxe Tailgate Party at 2:30 p.m. at Kidd Field, UTEP vs. UTSA football game at 6 p.m. at Sun Bowl Stadium.

As a graduate of both El Paso High School and UTEP, I can hardly wait.

IT’S GOOD TO see Oscar Leeser and his Hyundai of El Paso dealership connected with the Sun Bowl again. The Sun Bowl Association has announced that one of El Paso’s best holiday traditions will now be sponsored by his dealership. It will be renamed the Oscar Leeser’s Hyundai of El Paso Sun Bowl Parade.

The parade will again be run on Thanksgiving morning along Montana Avenue. This year marks the 83rd edition of the longstanding parade. The contract is a two-year deal with the option of automatic renewal.

TRIVIA ANSWER: September 24, 1957. Ebbets Field was demolished on Feb. 23, 1960.

Veteran sports journalist, historian and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by email at rayf358@yahoo.com or online at raysanchezbooks.com.


Shed: now a ‘treasure,’ talks about ’66 game

Nevil Shed, a member of the 1966 Texas Western College team that won the NCAA national basketball championship against University of Kentucky, has become such a treasure in San Antonio that I wish he had retired in El Paso.

After playing at Texas Western, Shed was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the fourth round of the 1967 NBA draft. His career ended when he tore up his leg while attempting a lay-up at a game in training camp. Because of that, he never played in the NBA or in other leagues. He later became an assistant coach for Coach Don Haskins at Texas Western.

SHED HAS lived in in the San Antonio area for more than 30 years. As such he has:

• Served as a coordinator for Student Activities at the University of Texas at San Antonio University Center.

• Is a San Antonio Spurs associate.

• A motivational speaker.

• A coach at the San Antonio Spurs basketball camp.

• And he does substitute teaching as a side job at Metzger Middle School in the San Antonio/Converse area.

WHEW! BUT NOT only that, he is constantly asked for interviews. Thanks to a close friend, Greg Dettman of Austin. He sent me one of Shed’s latest interviews, done by Jeph Duarte of the San Antonio Spurs:

Here, in part, and with some editing, is what Shed had to say about the 1966 championship game:

“We remember March 19 1966 where history was made …

“To other people it was just a white team versus a colored team. For us it was just having a chance to qualify to go to any school in the United States

“Yet our opportunities were limited. I remember one time that we’re playing a game and there were some bleachers behind us and they were calling those names, you know, like ‘black trash.’

“I TURNED AROUND and he (Coach Haskins) said, ‘Is that who you really are?’ I said, ‘No, sir.’ Then coach said, ‘Then you go out there and you show who you really are.’

“The day of the (championship) game I overheard some of the press saying, well, you know, they (the Miners) are gonna see what a championship team is really about now going

against the University of Kentucky, which had won the national championship four years prior to that.

“GOING INTO a situation such as that and feeling comfortable because of how we prepared ourselves one game after another we couldn’t wait to see what we could actually do out on the floor. It was a game of character against the negative action of people that surrounded us. You know, the Rebel flags and those things. We had to stay focused on what our goal was and I think if that would not have been accomplished I don’t think the history would be as colorful or as beautiful as it is today.

“We went out there and played one of the best games of our lives and the beauty of it is when the game was over and a couple was walking by we said we wondered what they were saying about us now,

“FOR ONE YEAR we were the national champions and when we went home I thought that it was gonna be a great thing but yet there was some jealousy from certain Uncle Tom people.

But eyes were opened and a lot of our southern schools, including the great state of Texas, decided to give minorities a chance.

“I think all we wanted was a chance. We worked hard for that. It’s amazing that that game became a movie and is on the top of the charts. It’s a learning tool and that’s something that I really enjoy seeing.”

(Note: There’s more to the interview and you can check it out on YouTube).

Veteran sports journalist, historian and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column.

New rap video celebrates Texas Western’s ’66 win

Did you know that a new rap video, based on the book,” The Baron and the Bear,” is now out and celebrates Texas Western College’s 1966 victory over the University of Kentucky?

The game is historic because it changed the game forever in the South and teams from there started recruiting African-American players.

The rap is now on Youtube and thanks to fan David Snell, who sent me the words in the rap, I have them in my possession. They’re so clever, I thought you might enjoy them.


Let me tell you the story of a team of glory

And the history they made one day

When tiny Texas Western played mighty Kentucky

To be champions of the NC-Double-A


The crowd gave a shout when Rupp’s Runts came out

Big Blue would be champions once more

Against all-white Kentucky five blacks would be lucky

Not to be run off the floor


Two steals in a row by our man Bobby Joe

And a romp had turned into a game

And when it was done the black team had won

And round-ball was never the same


Now you’ve heard the story of a team of glory

Of a David and Goliath bout

Of a team to remember when we celebrate our history

Of that there can be no doubt.


They were something to see with Big Daddy D

With Harry, the Willies and “O.”

There was young Nevil Shed on a team that was led

By a point-guard they called Bobby Joe.

OF COURSE, Big Daddy D was David Lattin, the center on the team. Harry is Harry Flournoy, starting forward in the championship game. The Willies are Willie Cager (forward) and Willie Worsley, guard who played many minutes.

Nevil Shed, was the forward and Bobby Joe Hill, the team-leader and point guard.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Which 1966 team had a better graduation rate, Texas Western College or Kentucky? Answer at end of column.

LATEST NOMINATIONS for induction into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame held Feb 11:

Franklin High School football coach Tony Grijalva,, bowling coach/administrator Karl Kielich and Irvin and Parkland High School football coach Erwin Bloxdorf.

Other nominations will be accepted on Feb. 25 and March 11 at El Paso Community College at 5:30 p.m.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Texas Western, .750 to .712. Dr. Mimi Gladstein of the Texas Western College English Department at the time reported that nine of the 12 Miners graduated to only 10 of the 14 Kentucky players.

Historical Society Plans to Honor 1966 Miners

Ray Sanchez© 09.16.18

This from Mark Calamia: “As co-chairman of the El Paso County Historical Commission’s (EPCHC) Historical Markers Committee, I am overseeing plans for the creation of a historical marker to commemorate the 1966 Texas Western College basketball team that won the NCAA Basketball Tournament by defeating the University of Kentucky.
“It would be placed somewhere on the grounds at UTEP with a dedication ceremony. If you are interested in assisting with this project, then let me know either way, please.”
Of course, I said I would help. This is timely since this month is the 10th anniversary of the death of the Miners’ coach, Don Haskins.

WHEN HASKINS passed away on Sept 7, 2008, I wrote that even the heavens cried. It Haskins1rained all afternoon and night following his death.
But one article that wasn’t mentioned in any of my stories was a tribute that another legendary basketball coach, Bob Knight, paid him on CBS.
The article follows.

“THE GLOW from Don Haskins’ greatest triumph was mostly a memory when Disney decided to take another look.
“Then came the movie ‘Glory Road’ and a whole new generation learned what Bob Knight already knew about his old friend’s career – and legacy.
“’Don got more out of his teams and players than any coach who has ever coached college basketball,’ Knight said.
“Haskins, the Hall of Fame coach credited with helping break color barriers in college sports in 1966 when he used five black starters to win a national basketball title for Texas Western, died Sunday. He was 78.
“’The word unique does not begin to describe Don Haskins,’ Knight, the winningest men’s coach in the sport’s history, said. ‘There is no one who has ever coached that I respected and admired more than Don Haskins. I’ve had no better friend that I enjoyed more than Don Haskins.’”
End of story.

AS FOR ME, I loved the man. Beneath the gruff exterior Haskins was a kind-hearted man. 66 minersPerhaps his greatest attribute was his generosity. When Disney offered him $300,000 for the rights to his life story but offered only $7000 to each of his players, Haskins told Disney to put his $300,000 and the $7000 for each of his players in one giant pot and distribute it equally.
Disney complained that it was too much trouble but Haskins insisted.
Each member of the team wound up with more than $37,000,

TRIVIA QUESTION: What was coach Don Haskins’ overall college coaching record? Answer at end of column.

THE FOLLOWING is from reader Mark Deemer:
“For the past three years I have been trying to get a UTEP women’s basketball jersey hung in the Don, but to no avail. I can think of at least 10 athletes off the top of my head that would qualify. I have been trying to accomplish this when coach Green (Keitha Rachelle Adams, formerly known as Keitha Green) was here. (Former athletic director Bob) Stull never contacted me after numerous e-mails and a phone call.
“The present coach said it was not up to him. The present AD told me that it would not happen this year (that was a conversation in February) and it would be in his in basket. Let’s make this happen. It is time and it would be a great recruiting tool as well.”

TRIVIA ANSWER: Don Haskins coached at UTEP from 1961 through 1999 and won 719 games and lost only 353. In the process he won seven Western Athletic Conference regular season championships, a NCAA basketball championship in 1966 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997 while his 1966 team was inducted in its entirety by the same Hall of Fame in 2007.

Two of UTEP’s Best Teams Will Open Season

Ray Sanchez© 9.09.18

Two of the most competitive teams at UTEP will open their seasons next week. Yes, I’m golf1talking about the Miners’ men and women golf teams.
Ever since former UTEP athletic director Bob Stull lured coach Scott Lieberwirth away from New Mexico State to take the reins at UTEP, the men’s team has been revived. Lieberwirth’s teams win tournaments, finish high in others and have been listed in the top 25 men’s golf teams in the country year after year.
Heck, the Miners, led by Charles Corner, even won a Conference USA championship last year.

NOT FAR BEHIND is the UTEP women’s golf team under coach Jere Pelletier. Led by Liligolf2 Downs, who made the All-Conference team, the women’s team finished second in Conference USA just last spring.
Both teams will open the fall season Monday. The men will play at the Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio. Altogether, the men will play in six tournaments in the fall and eight in the spring.
The women will open the fall season the same day at the MSU/Payne Stewart Memorial Tournament in Springfield, Missouri. They’ll play in five tournaments in the fall and five in the spring.
I can’t wait to see them in action.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Who is the winningest football coach, percentage-wise, in UTEP history? Answer at end of column.

DON’T DESPAIR, UTEP football fans. There’s still hope for the 2018 season.
Okay, so losing to Northern Arizona was embarrassing. But the Lumberjacks were loaded with returning lettermen. We have to give UTEP’s new coach, Dana Dimel, some time. He’ll be facing two tough road trips at UNLV this weekend and University of Tennessee the following week. It’s possible they’ll be 0-3.
But then the real test will begin.
They’ll face their No. 1 rival, New Mexico State, at home. UTEP quarterback Dai Locksley showed good running ability and a strong passing arm against Northern Arizona, but the offensive line couldn’t protect him. He kept getting blitzed. That can be corrected.
Don’t give up on the Miners yet.

EL PASO HIGH School picked three Outstanding Exes instead of the usual one this year. They are:
Myles Cohen, class of 1958.
Anna Lucia Mares, class of 1980.
Mary Jo Ponsford Melby, class of 1958.
They’ll be honored at a luncheon at the El Paso Club Sept. 20, the homecoming parade that night, the homecoming assembly on Sept. 21 and the homecoming football game that night.
Congratulations to all.

THIS FROM Joseph V. Riccillo: Great story (about Mike Price)! long live the Pick, Mike Price and the man who gave it to him (my father)!

VINCE YOUNG, who led the Texas Longhorns to a national championship in 2005, has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame this year.
Other inductees this year are
• Johnny Bailey, former Texas A&I and Chicago Bears star running back.
• Nell Fortner, Olympic Women’s basketball head coach and UT women’s basketball legend.
• Pete Fredenburg, head coach of the University of Mary Hardin-Bayor football program.
• Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos Super Bowl player and head coach.
• Cathy Self-Morgan, eight-time state title-winning high school girls basketball coach and UT Women’s Basketball alum.
• Gerald Myers, Texas Tech University player, coach and athletic director.
• Jill Sterkel, four-time Olympic swimmer and Longhorn women’s swimming and diving alumni.
• Michael Young, Texas Rangers superstar.

TOM HUSSMAN, a golf buddy of mine, tells of the time another golfer went to the dentist. He told the dentist that he didn’t want any anesthesia to work on a bad tooth because he had a 10 a.m. tee time and it was 9:30 a.m. already. The dentist argued but finally said okay. Then the golfer turned to his wife and said, “Okay, honey, show him the bad tooth.”

TRIVIA ANSWER: Mike Brumbelow. Between 1950 and 1956 he had a .651 won-lost percentage. He won 46 games, lost 24 and tied three.

Misery Loves Company Doesn’t Apply to Texas

by Ray Sanchez© 09.09.18

Misery loves company, so goes an old saying. But it’s not necessarily so. And I’m sure it’s not true when it comes to The University of Texas.
No, I’m not talking about UTEP, which lost all 12 football games last year. I’m talking about its parent school, The University of Texas at Austin.
Like UTEP, the Longhorns have fallen on hard times. And it’s sad.

IT WAS ONLY a few years ago that the Longhorns were serious competitors for a national title.
In fact, they won it in 2005 under coach Mack Brown when quarterback Vince Young accounted for 467 yards of total offense (200 rushing, 267 passing) and three rushing touchdowns (including a 9-yard touchdown scramble on 4th down with 19 seconds left) to lead the Longhorns to a 41–38 victory over USC.

BROWN WAS the last in a long list of great coaches at the University of Texas, coaches like Dana X. Bible and Fred Akers, both who coached 10 years, and, Darrell Royal, who coached for 20 years.
Royal was the greatest of them all. Despite the fact he coached 20 years he wound up with a phenomenal .774 won-lost percentage.
I especially remember when Royal beat Notre Dame, 21-17, in 1969 for the national championship. My son, Victor, who had received a basketball scholarship to Texas, was at the game and can only describe it as “incredible.”

MACK BROWN WAS forced to resign after the 2013 season. His troubles had started when in 2009 Texas attempted to raise his salary $2 million up to $5 million. Faculty members complained.
After four more years of going 5-7, 8-5, 9-4 and 8-5, he was forced to resign. Never mind that he had an overall record of .767 for 16 seasons.
Bad decision. The Longhorns went into a real tailspin The Longhorns hired Charlie Strong, who didn’t have a winning season in three years, then Tom Herman, who went 7-6 last year.

THE LONGHORNS opened the 2018 football season this weekend against Maryland. Then comes Tulsa.
But then the Longhorns will run into a buzzsaw called USC, which went 10-2 last year before losing to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.
Is Herman the answer to the Longhorns’ woes? We’ll quickly find out this season.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Can you name the eight golfers who have won a PGA tournament as amateurs? Answer at end of column.

MIKE PRICE, former UTEP football coach, is undoubtedly a popular fellow. Last week’s column on him was overwhelmingly positive.
Marilyn Cromeans, a longtime UTEP backer, added this bit of information:
“I was reading your column today about Mike Price popularizing the pick, which he certainly did. However, before he came to UTEP, the UTEP Woman’s Auxiliary sold sterling silver lapel picks as a fund raiser to help fund our scholarships and other donations to UTEP. It was the vision of the late Louise Gelsthorpe, a past president of the Auxiliary. When I became president of the Auxiliary, I had Dunham Jewelry Manufacturing make the pick pins for us. We have since also sold several different rhinestone pins and now are selling orange rhinestone UTEP pins,,,”

AND THIS from Gaines Baty, son of Bowie High School football coach Buryl Baty who was killed along with assistant Jerry Simmang in a 1954 automobile crash with a truck:
“My book, Champion of the Barrio, continues to sell well in Texas and across the United States (top-10% on Amazon.com). You were instrumental in helping the story to be written and to be successful in many ways. Thank you again …”
TRIVIA ANSWER: Frank Stranahan, 1945 Durham War Bond Tournament; Fred Haas, 1945 Memphis Invitational; Cary Middlecoff, 1945 North and South Open; Frank Stranahan, 1948 Miami Open; Gene Littler, 1954 San Diego Open; Doug Sanders, 1956 Canadian Open; Scott Verplank, 1985 Western Open; Phil Mickelson, 1991 Northern Telecom Open.

Give Price Credit for Making UTEP Pick opular

Ray Sanchez© 08.26.18

The pick has become a symbol at UTEP. It’s become so popular that even giant statues of pricepicka pick now adorn the school, are included in posters and magazines and little magnetic picks are attached to automobiles.
And the school owes it all to former football coach Mike Price. He almost single-handedly made the pick popular. One of my favorite memories is of Price coming out of one of the tunnels at the Sun Bowl and walking down the stairs waving a pick before a football game.
It was a simple gesture but it caught on so fast that it spread throughout the city.

MIKE PRICE is one of the nicest, friendliest, most cordial coaches the school ever had. He considered football a game and fun and passed that sentiment on to his players.
He started out at UTEP with a bang. Here was a former national Coach of the Year all of a sudden coaching the Miners.
In his first year in 2004, he won eight games, finished second in the Western Athletic Conference and took the Miners to the Houston Bowl.

THE MINERS moved to Conference USA in 2005. Price won another eight games in 2005 and took the Miners to the GMAC Bowl.
But Conference USA proved too tough for UTEP. The Miners went 5-7, 4-8, 5-7, 5-7, 4-8, 6-7, 5-7 and 3-9 before Price was replaced by Sean Kugler. Price took the Miners to the New Mexico Bowl after winning six games in 2010.
Kugler had only one winning season in four years. The winning season was in 2014 when he went 7-6 and took the Miners also to the New Mexico Bowl. Then when he started 0-5 in his fifth year he was fired.

MIKE PRICE was called on again at that point to take over the coaching reins and stop the losing. But it was too late. The Miners, demoralized, with little talent and with all the remaining games in Conference USA, lost the next seven games.
Price paid the biggest price. It added seven losing games to his overall coaching record. But he took it in stride.
He was a gentleman to the end.

TRIVIA QUESTION: There was a municipal golf course in El Paso before the one at Ascarate Park. What was its name and who was it named after? Answer at end of column.

THERE’S ONE good thing about getting older. I’ve been a witness to the tremendous growth El Paso has undergone.
Like the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame. I was sports editor of the El Paso Herald-Post in the 1980s when I got a call from Bufe Morrison. He said he wanted to start an El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame and asked if I was interested in helping him.
Of course, I said yes. We got some important baseball people together and we were off and running.
But I’m surprised at how big the Hall has grown. This year, for example, some 400 tickets were printed for the induction banquet last Sunday at the Wyndham Hotel and they sold out quickly.
Not only that, but a reception was held at the same hotel on the previous Friday and that was well attended, too.
The El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame is in good hands with president Leo Caraveo and past president Larry Hernandez.

TRIVIA ANSWER: After El Paso Country Club moved from central El Paso to the west side in 1918, Valdespino Municipal Golf Course was built at the same site. It was named after, A. S. Valdespino, a fine golfer who obviously loved the sport. He rolled up his sleeves and became the driving force that resulted in the creation of El Paso’s first municipal golf course. He helped build it, managed it for many years and, fittingly, it was named in his honor.

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