Tag: University of Texas at El Paso

Noontime’s Black History Month: The 1966 Texas Western Miners

By Matt Noonan

The Texas Western Miners celebrate a 1966 NCAA Championship victory. (PHOTO COURTESY: University of Texas at El Paso Flowsheet student yearbook/blackpast.org)

Our Black History Month celebration on the men and women that have and continue to shape the world of sports returns – we’ll be posting a few times each week, including this evening where we are honoring the Texas Western Miners men’s basketball team, which captured 1966 NCAA D-I Championship.

The Miners were a team many of us learned about in the 2006 movie Glory Road – coach Don Haskins started five African American players, who led the squad to an exciting (and very impressive!) 72-65 victory over the University of Kentucky.

The Wildcats entered the final contest of the 1965-66 school year as the favorite.

Let’s learn a bit more about the Miners, who represented Texas Western College, which is now the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

Getting to know the Texas Western Miners:

  • Coached by Don Haskins, who was inducted into both the Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame, led the Miners to their first and only championship with an upset win over Kentucky.

    Texas Western started five African American players against a Kentucky program that did not integrate until the 1970-71 season. Tom Payne became the first African American to compete for coach Adolph Rupp. Payne would play just one season for the Blue and White before turning pro one year later where he spent one season with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Prior to their 1966 NCAA Championship, the Miners made back-to-back appearances in the national postseason in 1963 and 1964. In 1964, they advanced to the the Sweet Sixteen, but lost to Kansas State. They did win, however, the Regional third place game against Creighton.
  • The Miners posted a 28-1 record during the 1965-66 season. Their only loss occurred at the end of the regular season against Seattle.

    Following their end of season setback to the Red Hawks, Texas Western rattled off five-straight wins, including a pair of overtime victories against Cincinnati and Kansas. Their win over the Jayhawks – an 81-80 victory in double-overtime – secured Texas Western a spot in the national semifinals against Utah.
  • The 1965-66 Texas Western Miners squad featured seven African American student-athletes: Bobby Joe Hill, Orsten Artis, Willie Worsley, Willie Cager, Nevil Shed, Harry Flournoy, and David Lattin.
  • As many historians and sports writers noted, the Texas Western victory over Kentucky opened the door for even more African American student-athletes to play sports at the collegiate level, not just basketball, but also football, track, baseball, and others, according to Dan Wetzel.

Articles and Links on the 1966 Texas Western Miners:

College Football Notebook: Welcome To Week One

CFBNOTEBOOK2020

By Matt Noonan 

The first official Saturday of the 2020 college football season is less than 24 hours away – crazy, right?

For the past few days, weeks, and months, both I and others, have debated if and how a season could be played, especially during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But somehow, some teams have found a way to keep everyone safe, including coaches, too.

And we already have a few games in the books, including a Week 0 affair between the Austin Peay State University and the University of Central Arkansas, which saw the Bears win by a score of 24-17.

Last night – Thursday, September 3, to be exact – the Bears suffered their first setback of the season, falling to the University of Alabama at Birmingham by a score of 45-35. 

UAB jumped out to a 28-21 advantage by the break while holding the Bears to just two touchdowns in the second half.

According to UCA coach Nathan Brown, UAB may be the “the best team we play all year.”

Next week the Bears will be idle before returning to the gridiron on Saturday, September 19 for a 6 p.m. kickoff against Arkansas State.

South Alabama was also victorious last night as the Jaguars topped the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi by a score of 32-21.

Southern Alabama’s Desmond Trotter and Chance Lovertich combined for three touchdown passes and 363 yards of total offense while Carlos Davis rushed for a game-high 85 yards on 15 carries.


Clemson secures top spot in ACC Preseason Poll: By no surprise, the Tigers of Clemson secured the top spot in this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) media poll while Notre Dame and North Carolina checked-in second and third, respectively.

Louisville and Virginia rounded out the top five, securing the fourth and fifth positions, respectively, while Boston College – yes, our local connection to the ACC – secured the 13th spot out of 15 teams.

Syracuse and Georgia Tech rounded out the final two spots in the 15 team poll, checking-in 14th, and 15th, respectively.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was picked to win the ACC Player of the Year award.


Noontime’s Game of the Week: Army over Middle Tennessee State University: The Black Knights have enjoyed a great deal of success over the past few years in their home stadium – in fact, they’re 17-2 in West Point, New York, according to Saturday’s preview, dating back to the 2016 season.

Army ended its 2019 campaign with back-to-back losses, including a 31-7 setback to Navy, along with just five wins, but for the Black Knights to be successful, both tomorrow and this fall, they will need their quarterbacks – Jabari Laws and Christian Anderson – to play their best football.

While I know Middle Tennessee may be the favorite in this game, I’m going with an early-season upset alert with the Army edging the Blue Raiders on the final drive.

Noontime’s Game of the Week Prediction: Army 24, Middle Tennessee 22 


Noontime’s Week One Predictions 

  • Marshall over Eastern Kentucky 
  • Army over Middle Tennessee 
  • Southern Methodist University (SMU) over Texas State 
  • North Texas over Houston Baptist 
  • Memphis over Arkansas State 
  • Stephen F. Austin over the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
  • Navy over Brigham Young University (BYU) (the game will be played on Monday, September 7 at 8 p.m.)