Rodney Terry, in his second year as basketball head coach at UTEP, made quite an impression when he spoke at the monthly breakfast of the Cathedral High School Alumni Association a week ago on Saturday, July 6.
He spoke mainly about what he looks for in a player.
Having been born in a small town in Texas where he says everybody got along, he talked about culture, the ability to get along with others and work ethic.
He said he wants all his players to graduate, work hard at rebounding and emphasized defense, taking care of the basketball, showing up to practice on time and shooting.
TERRY CAME TO UTEP from Fresno State, where he led the school to the big dance (the NCAA Tournament) one time and the NIT another time.
A former point guard at St. Edwards University, the now 51-year-old Terry started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater. Then he was head coach at various high schools where he compiled an impressive 64-34 record. Then he worked as an assistant coach at Baylor, UNC Wilmington and Texas before winding up at Fresno State as head coach for the next eight years.
As head coach, he has an overall winning college record of 134-129 despite going 8-21 in his first year at UTEP.
Terry promised me he would turn the Miners’ basketball fortunes around. We can only hope.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Who came close to joining the Major League 40-40 Club in homers and stolen bases but fell one homerun short? Answer at end of column.
EL PASO HAS lost another of its sports legends, Manny Morales. He passed away on July 2. He was 90.
Morales was inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 after an outstanding athletic career. I quote from the program that was put out that year:
“…Whether it was playing football, boxing or wrestling or driving a tank, he was the ‘go to’ guy.
“Morales’ career began at Bowie High School in 1944 where he was a four-year letterman and named to the All-District team twice (as a guard). …
“When he wasn’t knocking down opposing football players he was handing out misery as a member of the Bowie boxing and wrestling teams, going undefeated all four years as a heavyweight. He was also on the track team and won the discus throw in 1947.”
MANY COLLEGES offered him scholarships but he chose the University of New Mexico, where he was also outstanding.
His education was interrupted by a tour of duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, but he returned to finish his degree in education.
He taught and coached football in Albuquerque and then at Jefferson High School in Central El Paso.
He served as an agent with State Farm Insurance for the next 52 years, retiring at the age of 84.
BY THE WAY, the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame held its annual Class of 2019 Media Day and Meet and Greet Hall of Heroes event Friday, July 5, at the Wyndham Conference Center. The media had a chance to meet and interview this year’s inductees. The induction banquet was held Sunday, July 7.
By the way, the Hall has a sponsor, Fred Loya Insurance.
As a member of the founding board of directors, past president and an inductee, I am more than impressed. I’m proud of how successful the Hall has become.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Vladimir Guerrero. While with the Montreal Expos, he hit 39 homers and stole 40 bases in 2002.