Bowie High Pride Gets Another Boost With Book
Bowie High School has always held a soft spot in the hearts of many El Paso sports fans, whether they went to school there or not. Maybe itís because itís El Pasoís second oldest high school, established in 1927. Or maybe itís because it had its start in the poorest section of town it has usually been seen as an underdog. Or maybe itís because despite its location it has turned out outstanding teams and individuals.
Bowie High School was the first El Paso school to win a state baseball championship (in 1949). It produced the cityís first Olympian (Javier Montes in 1952). It was the school with the cityís most honored high school coach (Nemo Herrera). It produced one of the nationís greatest college basketball coaches (Nolan Richardson).
BOWIE HIGH exes all exude pride and the tentacles of that pride extend all over the city. Bowie High is located on the cityís south side of El Paso but the William C. ďNemoĒ Herrera Elementary School was built on the west side. And can you believe that a Bowie Bakery will open soon on the west side? The bakery, located in a new shopping center on North Mesa Street near the crossroads, proudly displays a Bear (the schoolís mascot) and the schoolís blue and white colors. So now thereís a Bowie Bakery on the far east side, the south side and the far west side.
Like many Bowie High alumni will tell you, ďOnce a Bowie Bear, always a Bowie Bear.Ē
AND NOW comes a book about Nolan Richardson that will bring even more pride and honor to the school.
Itís about Nolan Richardson, the only coach to win national championships at all three levels of college basketball. He won the junior college title at Western Texas Junior College, the NIT at Tulsa University and the NCAA at University of Arkansas.
The book, written with former El Pasoan Rus Bradburd, is titled "Forty Minutes of Hell: the Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson."
It has already received praise from such national figures as former President Bill Clinton and former NBA star Charles Barkley. And Dave Zirin, author of A Peopleís History of Sports in the United States, says, ďThis is the finest sports biography I've read in years, hands down."
BOWIE HIGH, and the city, are celebrating the book in style. Bowie High has declared Feb. 2 as Nolan Richardson Day. Richardson and Bradburd will be selling and signing copies of the book before Bowieís basketball game against Irvin that day, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The next day Richardson will be the keynote speaker for UTEPís Black History Month. At night, Richardson and Bradburd will be signing copies of the book at the UTEP-Houston game at the Don Haskins Center.
Oh, yes, and the city council has proclaimed Feb. 3 as Nolan Richardson Day.
RICHARDSON IS also perhaps the greatest all-around athlete El Paso has ever produced. He not only played football, basketball and baseball at Bowie but was picked on the all-district team of all three sports, a feat never equaled by any other El Paso athlete.
He was a star basketball player at UTEP when it was known as Texas Western College and after graduation he took up golf. He became so good at the latter people were lining up to sponsor him. And only a hamstring injury kept him from playing pro football, pro baseball and/or pro basketball.
Iím not a Bowie ex. I graduated from El Paso High School. But Iíve enjoyed watching Richardson rise step by step to the very top of the sports ladder. I can only imagine how much more pride Bowie High alumni must feel today.
Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.raysanchezbooks.com