Former UTEP, PGA Star Among Golf Inductees
Three down and one to go. The El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet was held in April. The El Baseball Hall of Fame induction banquet was held two weeks ago. The UTEP Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet was held this weekend. Next: The El Paso Golf Hall of Fame induction banquet on November 11. And like the other local hall of fame banquets, it’s going to be a dandy. Headlining the event will be inductee Paul Stankowski, who played for UTEP and then went on to be a winner on the PGA Tour.
He’s one of my all-time favorite El Paso athletes, and not only because of his golf ability. He’s one of those athletes with special charm, a friendly, freewheeling, mischievous sort of guy who made sports more than a game or business. He made it fun.
Coincidentally, he just recently earned a big award. His feat of winning back-to-back titles on the Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour in 1996 was voted “The top moment of the first 20 years of the Nationwide Tour.” The voting was by fans and conducted on pgatour.com. What an honor.
STANKOWSKI has assured El Paso Golf Hall of Fame president Rita Aguilar that he will be present at the induction banquet, much to her and others’ delight.
After UTEP, Stankowski turned pro in 1991. He won the 1996 Bell South Classic and the 1997 United Airlines Hawaiian Open. Other wins include the 1992 New Mexico Open, the 1996 Lincoln Mercury Kapalua International and the Japan Tour’s Casio World Open.
Active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he has returned to El Paso over the years for a golf fundraiser which bears his name.
TWO OTHER outstanding golf figures, Rick Todd and Bill Elrod, will be inducted along with Stankowski.
Todd was the first UTEP Miner to earn All American honors and was also a four-time first team All-WAC team selection. He won four collegiate tournaments and played professionally on the Canadian, Asian, Nike and Ben Hogan Tours. He won the Victoria Open in 1997 and the Ben Hogan Dakota Dunes Open in 1991. In 1996, Rick was selected as a member of Canada’s World Cup and Dunhill Cup team.
He is now in his seventh year as coach of the UTEP golf team and was named Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year following the 2000-2001 season.
BILL ELROD is an official in the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association. He has more than 21 years experience with that association and the United States Golf Association.
During his tenure he has held various positions, including seven years on the executive committee. He has served as the chief rule official for USGA local and sectional qualifiers in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.
He has also worked as a rules official in several NCAA Division I regionals and finals as well as many local and regional championships
The Hanks High School boys golf team and the Eastwood High girls golf team that represented El Paso in the 2009 UIL State Championships will be among other honorees.
AS A CHARTER member of all the sports halls of fame mentioned here I have seldom missed any of the induction banquets through the years. I can assure you they’re a joy to attend. You get to meet, mingle with and listen to our greatest athletes in person.
The El Paso Golf Hall of Fame banquet will have a little extra touch of class this year. It’ll be held at swanky Coronado Country Club.
Remember the date: Wednesday, November 11. Inductees will be on hand at 6 p.m. and dinner will be at 7 p.m.
Attendance will be limited to 250 guests, so get your tickets early. For tickets and/or more information, call Rita Aguilar at 731-7482.
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