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UTEP Miners
University University of Texas at El Paso
Conference Conference USA
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Bob Stull
Location El Paso, TX
Varsity teams 15
Football stadium Sun Bowl Stadium
Basketball arena Don Haskins Center
Mascot Paydirt Pete
Nickname Miners
Fight song Miners Fight
Colors Orange and Blue



The UTEP Miners is the name given to the sports teams of the University of Texas at El Paso. Informally, the UTEP Miners have also been referred to as the Miners, UTEP, or simply El Paso. UTEP was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1967 to 2005, when they joined Houston, 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. The athletic director for the Miners is Bob Stull.



The University of Texas at El Paso has varsity teams in the following[1] sports:

Men's sports:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Cross-Country
  • Track & Field

Women's sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross-Country
  • Golf
  • Rifle
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball


Playing their first game in 1914, the UTEP Miners football team currently compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The team plays its games in the Sun Bowl Stadium, and Mike Price is at the helm for his 5th season at UTEP in 2008.

UTEP was a member of the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association, from 1941-1961. The football team won a conference championship in 1956.

NCAA Division I National Championships

UTEP's sports programs have won a total of 21 NCAA Division I national championships.[2] UTEP is currently tied for 10th overall among schools in Men's Sports Division I championships.

Men's Basketball

1966 Texas Western basketball team

As Texas Western, the Miners won the 1966 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. The 72-65 victory over Kentucky in College Park, Maryland is considered one of the most important in the history of college basketball, as it marked the first time that a team with five African-American starters won a title game. It came against a Kentucky team that had no African-American players, during the period of the Civil Rights Movement.

The title team has been chronicled throughout the American media, including the book 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

2008 Olympics

UTEP students and alumni participated in track and field events.[3]

Athlete Event Team
Mickael Hanany high jump France
Blessing Okagbare long jump Nigeria
Blessing Okagbare
Oludamola Osayomi
Halimat Ismaila
women's 4×100 meter relay Nigeria
Oludamola Osayom 100M women Nigeria
Oludamola Osayom 200M women Nigeria
Halimat Ismaila 100M women Nigeria
Churandy Martina 100M men Netherlands Antilles
Churandy Martina 200M men Netherlands Antilles
Ronalds Arajs 200M men Latvia
Caiman Douglas men 4×100 meter relay Netherlands
Erma-Gene Evans javelin Saint Lucia
Alexandros Papadimitriou hammer throw men Greece
Henderson Dottin   Barbados
Fatimoh Muhammed   Liberia

Traveling Trophies

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.

Sports Venues

UTEP owns the two largest stadiums in El Paso:



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