There’s Hope for UTEP Football This Year


by Ray Sanchez©


There’s hope for the weary.
Did you notice the UTEP 2018 football schedule has only one big money game this year? Which usually means an automatic loss?
There is no Oklahoma, or Army or University of Arizona like last year. Neither is there a Texas or an Arkansas or a Texas Tech. There’s only Tennessee. And it’s vulnerable. It’s coming off a terrible 4-8 season.
In short, the Miners won’t have to start out with two or three automatic losses. Nor will they be banged up and demoralized. They’re mostly staying in their own class and conference.

OH, I KNOW, Tennessee will still be a problem, especially since the game is at Tennessee. And maybe Conference USA is still too tough for the Miners.
But the Miners will at least have a chance to compete in every game on the schedule. After a winless season in 2017, we can at least hope for a victory here and there.
There will be a breather right in the middle of the schedule (Oct. 13) so the Miners can heal and regroup.
We wish new coach Dana Dimel and the Miners the best.

OH, BY THE WAY. The Miners open the football season Sept. 1 against Northern Arizona in the Sun Bowl. You’ll be there, won’t you?
This is the new UTEP. The Miners have a new athletic director, a new football coach and a new basketball coach and you want to support them, don’t you? You can call 866-848-8499 and purchase your UTEP Miners tickets through one of the friendly customer service representatives.
Let’s give the Miners a good sendoff.

TRIVIA QUESTION: How many former members of the El Paso Herald-Post sports department have been inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame? Answer at end of column.

AS A FORMER Gold Nugget myself, I like to keep up with other recipients of the annual Distinguished Alumni and Gold Nugget awards at UTEP. This year’s recipients will be recognized during the 2018 Homecoming Celebrations on Friday, October 5.
I’m delighted to see Crystal Long head the list this year. She’ll be honored as one of two Distinguished Alumni, which ranks a bit above Gold Nuggets.
Crystal, who became a proud Miner when she joined The University of Texas at El Paso’s Executive MBA Program (EMBA), currently serves as president and CEO of Greater El Paso Credit Union, the largest locally owned financial institution in El Paso.
I have a special place in my heart for her because she has made GECU the success it is today and because GECU seems to be everywhere in the city doing good things.
Besides, that’s where I bank, and I sleep well at night knowing my money is in good hands.

THE OTHER Distinguished Alumna is Karla Martinez who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in media/ 1998. She has been a huge success in the business, including hosting Univision’s popular youth-oriented lifestyle program, “Control.”
Ten other graduates will receive Gold Nugget Awards.
UTEP President Diana Natalicio said the awardees “embody our Miner spirit and serve as examples to our students of what can be accomplished through an excellent education, high aspirations and the drive and perseverance to achieve them.”

OTHER HONORS just keep coming to UTEP
The UTEP Volleyball team received the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the 2017-2018 season. The AVCA Team Academic Award honors those teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
And former Miner Tobi Amusan claimed Nigeria’s first gold medal at the 2018 African Senior Championships. The hurdler cruised to a winning time of 12.86 in the women’s 100m hurdles.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Five. Bob Ingram, Derry Eads, Ruben Ramirez, Manny Ontiveros and yours truly.



Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at by e-mail at or online at         



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