Kudos to the UTEP Athletics Department for turning the men’s basketball exhibition game against Texas Tech into a fundraiser for the victims of the Aug. 3 mass shooting.
The university said that all tickets for the Oct. 12 game at the Don Haskins Center would be $10. They are on sale at the UTEP Ticket Offices.
In past years, the Miners have sold out the Don Haskins Center when they priced all of their tickets at $10 for postseason men’s and women’s basketball games.
Every orange seat will be general admission and first come, first served to watch UTEP battle last year’s NCAA Tournament runner-up. This game should be a sellout, especially since it is going to a great cause.
UTEP fans will also get a good early look at their team and their potential under Rodney Terry’s second season as head coach.
Billy Gillispie 16 years ago shocked the basketball world when his Miners team upset the Harlem Globetrotters 89-88 in an exhibition game, which ended the Globetrotters’ 288-game winning streak.
The win was an early sign that the 2003-04 season would be a special one for UTEP. The Miners finished with 24 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992.
The following year, the NCAA passed legislation barring college teams from playing non-collegiate opponents – ending the Globetrotters college tour. The Miners remain the last team to defeat them in a basketball game.
The Texas Tech fundraising announcement was part of UTEP’s #ElPasoStrong initiative that will also include soccer, football and volleyball.
Although the two-month campaign will culminate with the Red Raiders exhibition game, UTEP will kick things off Aug. 22 when the soccer team hosts Wyoming at University Field. Nine days later, the football team hosts Houston Baptist at the Sun Bowl in their season opener.
The Miners will wear #ElPasoStrong helmet decals, honor victims and heroes of the tragedy and perform a special halftime show themed “Everything El Paso.” The volleyball team will start their home campaign at Memorial Gym at 10 a.m. Sept. 6 against Coppin State.
“Anyone who has spent even the slightest bit of time in our great community has been touched by the warm, loving and welcoming nature of El Pasoans,” Director of Athletics Jim Senter said in the university’s press release. “The events of Aug. 3rd left us shaken, but it hasn’t deterred our spirit. Our objective is to not only pay tribute to the victims of this senseless violence, but to celebrate all things that make El Paso so wonderful – including the efforts of the first responders and other heroes in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.”
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays on 600 ESPN El Paso. You can email him at email@example.com.