Some Miners Were Always Horsing Around (March 2022)

The day Roy Heard’s parents drove him from Odessa to the Texas Western campus, they saw where he would be living — in barracks in the shadow of old Kidd Field — and very nearly did a buttonhook back east. 

“My mother almost didn’t let me stay,” says Heard. Now 89, living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the former lineman is believed to be the only surviving member of the Miners’ 1954 Sun Bowl team.

Pulled from the dusty UTEP archives, this 1957 photo shows what has long been a parking lot just north of Kidd Field. For decades, a corral and stables housed more horses than the barracks did Texas Western athletes. (with thanks to unofficial school historian Willie Quinn)

“The walls were thin and the floor was so dirty, I would stand on my bed to put on my shoes, just to keep my feet clean.” Modest as it was, the barracks were home to TWC athletes, until Miners Hall opened in 1951.

Heard (B.S. 1954, electrical engineering) shared this humble abode with about 30 other scholarship football players. Today, it’s part of a parking lot for students and staff. On game day Saturdays, the space is dominated by football fans having way too much fun. 

These images from the 1946 yearbook Flowsheet show students utilizing the TWC campus stables and corral. (thanks to historian Willie Quinn) 
Roy Heard, 89, is believed to be the oldest living member of the Miners’ 1954 Sun Bowl team. His arrival on the Texas Western campus predates the opening of old Miners Hall, since abandoned as a jock dorm.

Back in Heard’s undergrad days, Miners slept just downhill from a corral and stalls that housed a string of horses. A north breeze brought the stables even closer, with an authentic barnyard aroma. TWC coaches were not exempt.

Legendary Ross “Moe” Moore, a football assistant and head track coach, lived in the barracks when school was out. Mo’s wife Kathleen and daughter Marilyn would have none of it. They retreated to Marshall in deep East Texas for the summer.

Heard began his TWC career wearing a leather helmet under Coach Mike Brumbelow. Playing both offense and defense, the 190-pound lineman upgraded to a plastic helmet during his sophomore year, then added a single-bar face mask for his junior and senior years. Football was job security for dentists.

“We played both ways back then,” says Heard, who retired in 1992. “But I don’t remember ever being tired.”

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