Believe it or not, one of the new names considered for Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy in 1949 was University of Texas at El Paso, or UTEP for short.
It was turned down by the jealous board of regents at the University of Texas at Austin.
“UTEP is Out” screamed a headline in the March 12, 1949, issue of The Prospector.
A poll of students run by the Prospector showed that Texas Western University was favored.
The “University” part was dropped and the school officially became known as Texas Western College.
ENGINEERS WERE furious that the name had been changed from Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy, of course.
They marched up and down the main drag of the college in protest.
Some of them shook their fists at The Prospector, which had campaigned for the name change.
Several of us in the office were actually worried (me included, despite having served in the Army in Germany but still in my early 20s) that some of the more rabid protestors would break into the office. Thankfully none did.
THE TEXAS WESTERN name lasted until 1967 when it was changed, ironically, to University of Texas at El Paso.
Some people think the change in 1967 occurred because the Miners won the national basketball championship in 1966, but it’s not so.
The University of Texas System decided to change the names of all its branch schools that year.
So now we have University of Texas at El Paso, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at San Antonio, etc.
TRIVIA QUESTION: What is Canada’s national sport? Answer at end of column.
MIKE GOLDMAN, a horse owner at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, writes;
“Hi, Ray, In 1956, Harold Turley and I were the number one doubles team at El Paso High School and favored to win the district championship and go to state.
“In practice we were regularly beating our number one singles player, Lee Epstein (ranked 8th nationally in 18 and under) and our tennis coach, Winston Farquear.
“In the Spring of ‘56 we were set to meet our Austin High rivals, Danny Wever and Art Napoles for the district championship.
“We were going to play on the exas Western tennis courts, the winners going on to the state championship.
“It was an incredibly windy day and we were all having a problem getting the ball to stay in the courts, but the referee, Dr. Bentz, insisted we had enough practice time and to go on and play.
“The score was 6-4, 6-4 in favor of Austin High...obviously Danny and Art had a better handle on the wind then we did.
“I was a senior and graduated and Harold was a junior, partnering with Steve Steen.The next year. Harold and Steve went on to the State championship in ‘57 and lost in the finals.
“Harold received a full tennis scholarship at BYU after graduating EL Paso High.”
TRIVIA ANSWER: Lacrosse.
Veteran sports journalist, historian and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. His column periodically runs in El Paso Inc.’s B-Section. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at raysanchezbooks.com.