Great Moments Recalled at UTEP Hall Banquet
Some of my greatest thrills each year come from attending El Pasoís various
sports halls of fame. Induction banquets for two of them were held recently: The
UTEP Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 22, and the El Paso Baseball Hall of
Fame last Tuesday, Oct. 26.
As one can imagine, attendees at those banquets not only get to see what these
great athletes look like now that theyíve matured but they get to hear some
stories that, in many cases, had never been revealed. Iíve already written about this yearís
El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame inductees. Now here are some tidbits about this yearís
UTEP Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
From left in photo, Chad Gibson North, Sean Gibson, Bob Wallace, Be Stoney, Michael Musyoki and Olapade Adeniken.
BOB WALLACE was one of the Minersí great receivers during what Iíve called The
Golden Decade of UTEP Sports, the 1960s. He not only helped the Miners win two
Sun Bowls but took part in perhaps the schoolís most memorable game, a victory
that was so improbable that it was immortalized in a painting by artist Tom Lea.
Itís been called ďThe Turning Point Game.Ē Billy Stevens, the Minersí quarterback during those
shining years, introduced Wallace at this yearís induction banquet and told the following story.
WHEN STEVENS first saw Wallace at practice at UTEP he didnít realize Wallace was
so fast. He under threw his first pass to him by several yards. The next time he
threw to Wallace he threw it way ahead of the streaking receiver and, amazingly, Wallace ran under it
and caught it. Stevens and Wallace continued practicing that play and it paid off against
University of Utah on Nov. 13, 1965.
THE MINERS found themselves on their own 8-yard line and trailing Utah 19-13
with only eight seconds remaining in the game.
The Miners called a play in which Chuck Hughes was to be the receiver but the
play didnít develop that way. As the Utah defenders rushed toward Stevens he
caught sight of Wallace running on the field.
And, just like in practice, Stevens heaved the ball, Wallace ran under it,
caught it and streaked the rest of the 92 yards for a touchdown. The Miners won
20-19, didnít lose another game that season, finished 8-3 and upset mighty TCU
in the Sun Bowl. Stevens, regarded by many as the greatest quarterback in UTEP history, was
inducted into the UTEP Hall of Fame in 2003. Now the unforgettable Wallace is
there with him. Seeing them together and re-living that miraculous play at the induction banquet
was an almost indescribable thrill.
PAUL GIBSON, one of UTEPís greatest hurlers who won that event in the 1970 NCAA
Outdoor Championships, was another inductee. He was an amazing physical
specimen. An Adonis, if you will. He was killed in an automobile accident in 1975.
It was a touching, if heart-rending, experience to see his sons, Chad and Sean,
holding back tears as they accepted the UTEP award.
BE STONEY is the first female basketball player inducted at UTEP. She played for
the Miners from 1977 to 1981 and still ranks third in school career scoring.
Owner of Masters and PhD degrees, she has become an outstanding professor.
TWO GREAT track stars rounded out the UTEP inductees.
One was Olapade Adeniken, a NCAA champion in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes
in 1992, and Michael Musyoki, the 1979 NCAA oudoor champion in the 10,000
meters. Adeniken came to UTEP from Nigeria and Musyoki from Kenya. Both told of how
thankful they were for their experiences at UTEP and how much it changed their
lives for the better.
UTEP ATHLETIC director Bob Stull, who has done so many wonderful things for the
schoolís athletic department, started the UTEP Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Thanks, Mr. Stull.
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