Caution UTEP Miners — Tech fans carry a torch for their team


texas tech basketball
Texas Tech fans in Lubbock last Saturday decided a post-game victory celebration was not complete without destroying a car.

By Mark S. McDonald, A.K.A. “Mr. Manners”

It’s been awhile since long-suffering UTEP basketball and football fans have had much to celebrate. Perhaps we could take a lesson from our neighbors in Lubbock.

Last Saturday night after Texas Tech beat Michigan State to reach the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, Hub City hooligans “celebrated” by taking to the streets. Results were oh, so West Virginia Mountaineer-like.

A blazing couch … car flipped on its noggin, set afire … scooters in flames … police fogging an estimated 1,000 people with tear gas.

Question to Miners: How does one set fire to a scooter? Seriously.

At Texas Technological, is Scooter Burning 3101 taught in freshman classes? Or is it a grad-level course?

Classy, Red Raiders, so very classy.

It’s one thing to lose with grace and dignity – as shown by the riot and property damage and 23 arrests in East Lansing after Michigan State lost. Tech people need to learn how to win. As the late Texas Longhorn coach Darrell Royal told his players in my book Beyond The Big Shootout – 50 Years of Football’s Life Lessons,“act like you have been there before.”

Fact 1 — UTEP fans boo the opponents when they take the field at the Sun Bowl. It embarrasses me, and pisses me off. Knock it off, you mullets. Booing a bunch of 19-year-olds working their way through college is bush league. It’s college football, not pro wrestling.

Fact 2 — Texas Western (now UTEP) in 1966 became the last Texas school to win the men’s basketball title. We should be proud of it; I know I am.

Fact 3 — On Monday night, many UTEP Miners on Monday were rooting for Tech to lose to Virginia, so as to protect this long-held distinction.

Fact 4 — If TT had won, I was already planning a fresh T-shirt design, featuring a cartoon by artist-friend Bill DeOre (he’s the Tech boy who illustrated my book). Dig this: A stylized Miner with his hand extended to a masked marauder. Text: “Welcome to the Club, Amigo. Been waiting on company since 1966.”

Fact 5 — UTEP football plays TT at Lubbock next September. Miners will come in as an underdog, but I think my proposed T-shirt would have been a big, big winner among tailgaters in the stadium parking lot. Don’t you?

As for wearing a derisive T-shirt to jeer Tech fans, vayan con cuidado. Y’all, go with caution. People in Lubbock know how to set fire to your scooter.

[McDonald is a UTEP grad and two-year football letterman with a West Texas home surrounded by Tech people. His new book on the 1969 Arkansas-Texas Shootout for the national football title, set against political and social chaos in America, arrives in two weeks. Advance copies available by visiting]

On the Menu: Car Wash, Strong Coffee, Weak B.S. and a Mountain Lion to Go

By Mark S. McDonald Sr., Undocumented Miner of Yesteryear

In mid-January, an Austin-area man reported seeing a mountain lion walk across theMountain_Lion_D_Sweetman_small front yard of the family’s home near Leander. The animal wascaught on the door bell camera, disappeared into the night, never to be seen again. (Hold the yawn.) A cougar in 2017 was sighted in a residential back yard in the Montana Vista neighborhood of El Paso, during daylight hours. Escape from the local zoo?

Even that one doesn’t compare to the 2011 incident in which a rogue mountain lion was shot twice with tranquilizer darts, with plans to remove it to the nearby Franklin Mountains. When the lion still tried to elude Parks & Wildlife staffers, they shot the animal dead. That- 102-pound male lion was taken a long field goal from downtown El Paso, at H&H Car Wash.



Where else can you get a car wash, a plate of migas, strong coffee and weak B.S.? All courtesy of the owner, crusty Maynard Haddad, 85, quite possibly the most loyal UTEP Miners fan in … um … in captivity.




Tough But True — Don Haskins Treated All His Players the Same — Like Crap

By Rex Miller, Texas Western & UTEP Historian

My associations with Hall of Fame basketball coach Don Haskins consisted mostly of watching his practice sessions. At Memorial Gym on campus where the Miners practiced, I once sat with (Western Athletic Conference basketball official) Moose Stubing.

Hall of Famer Don Haskins, meaner than an ex-wife, a Miner forever.

“There’s Stubing up there,” Haskins rumbled, pointing to the stands at the time-honored campus facility. “He’s the only one I know who combs his hair with a towel.”

Just then The Bear unleashed a tirade, yelling at his players that they were so messed up the looked like a “Chinese fire drill.”

(Editor’s note: It should be noted here that the better the player, the more likely to draw the wrath of Don Haskins. Those close to the program knew that only Haskins’ bark was larger than his bite. Not even the likes of Tim Hardaway and Nate “Tiny” Archibald, two UTEP legends on the way to NFL stardom, were immune. While privately hugging his players in love, The Bear would castigate them all as “playing like a sack of cats.”

The contributing writer is true orange, loyal to the University and to many friends in West Texas. Watch this space for Rex Miller’s original illustrations, found nowhere else by “Miners Are Forever.” Next: An insider’s view of UTEP legend James Forbes, who played on the U.S. Olympic basketball team and still coaches kids in El Paso today.

And while I have your attention, be sure and check out our brand-new Facebook page here.)

Wade Phillips – UTEP’s Super Bowl Connection You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

Wade Phillips, defensive coordinator, Los Angeles Rams
Wade Phillips, defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams

With the Super Bowl approaching on Sunday, we have a choice. We can either hide in the jungles of Brazil, or wade through a tidal wave of minutia regarding the Rams and Patriots.

It’s amusing to see how the press has “discovered” Wade Phillips, crowning him a defensive mind for the ages. During his head coaching nosedive with the Cowboys, the same media buried Phillips alive. For the purposes of this forum, you can skip over the fact Wade finished high school at Port Neches Grove on the Texas coast, then started three years at linebacker for University of Houston. Ever since, Phillips has taken a zig-zagging coaching journey to reach our living rooms via network TV. But let’s not side-step Phillips’ link to El Paso. It goes like so:

Bum Phillips, UTEP, Texas Western, 1962
Bum Phillips coached at UTEP (then Texas Western) in 1962. At the time, Bum and his wife Helen lived in a modest apartment on the first floor of Miners Hall.

Daddy Bum was coaching at UTEP (then Texas Western) in 1962, when he went out recruiting. Bum left an assistant to conduct the Miners’ off-season program, with a roster and cryptic note on how to handle any discipline problem.

Next to each player’s name was “run” or “run off.”

Translation: If a player was on the two-deep chart, his transgression would mean he would be required to run for punishment. If a kid was out of Bum’s favor, he would meet the other fate … Run, or run off.

At the time, Bum and his wife Helen lived in a modest apartment on the first floor of Miners Hall. The storied old structure with good bones and a questionable past has long since been remodeled to offices and lecture rooms. (More on that later.)

To cap this tale, young Wade Phillips, then 15 but now 71, lived in this apartment located next to the first-floor dorm room occupied a few years later by the late Ed Puishes. If you know your Miners lore, Eddie was a splendid WR who still ranks in the top 10 pass receivers in school history.

Eddie roomed with an offensive lineman from Midland Lee and, together, they lived 15 feet from where NFL royalty once lived. Eddie’s roommate? Take a guess.

by Mark S. McDonald Sr., executive editor and author of Beyond The Big Shootout – 50 Years of Football’s Life Lessons, available soon at