In the 1920’s Dean John W. “Cap” Kidd began pushing for an athletic field for the College of Mines and Metallurgy (now UTEP). It would not be until 1932 that construction of the field would begin. The field was originally to be named Hendricks Field after Dr. C.M. Hendricks who was influential in commencing the Sun Carnival, however, a movement by College of Mines and Metallurgy ex-student Emil J. Mueller to change the name to Kidd Field led a controversy over the name of the field. Mueller wrote to the El Paso Herald-Post and to the UT Board of Regents that “Dr. C.M. Hendricks has had very little to do with providing the Miners with a stadium.” He went on to argue, “Since the inception of the College of Mines, Captain Kidd has consistently and persistently worked for an athletic field for the Mines.” He suggested that the name of Hendricks Field was the work of the “Hitler of College Hill” referring to Mines President John Barry. Kidd, nicknamed by Mueller “the Father of Football,” released a statement to the Herald Post stating that he would be “taking no part in the movement to change the name of College football stadium from Hendricks Field to Kidd Field.” When the Board of Regents was presented with the proposal to change the name in October 1933, they withheld response until November 3rd in which they voted to change the name. Members of the Mines advisory council said they planned to protest against the name change; however, their protest was not successful and the name of Kidd Field remained.
On November 4, 1933, the Miners played their first game on Kidd Field against the New Mexico Aggies. The Miners shut-out the Aggies with a final score of 9-0. From 1933 until the Sun Bowl stadium was complete in 1963, the Miners football team shared Kidd Field with the Miners track and field athletes. Track and field also had Kidd to thank for Kidd Field when he included and designed the track facilities as part of the athletic field. After the football program left Kidd Field, the facility has been used solely by track and field, a benefit which few colleges and universities can offer.
Kidd Field’s track and field record has arguably been the most successful of all Miner athletics: 500 All-Americans, over 100 National Champions, and nearly 100 Olympians. In 2008, Kidd Field added a state-of-art Daktronics video board. A blue and grey NASP Protracks surface, the same used at the Athens Olympics, was added in 2011, due to the donations of Russ Vandenburg and Mark Fry. In April 2012, the track was dedicated to former Miner athlete Larry K. Durham who made a financial contribution which aided in the 2011 renovation of Kidd Field.
[Sources: El Paso Herald-Post, 04/10/1933, 10/14/1933, 10/16/1933, 10/30/1933, 11/3/1933, 11/4/1933, and11/6/1933; Hamilton, Nancy, UTEP: A Pictorial History of the University of Texas at El Paso, 1988; and UTEP Facilities, Kidd Field, http://www.utepathletics.com/facilities/kidd-field.html.]
Ashley Swarthout was a student in the Masters of Arts in Teaching English program at UTEP. She graduated in May 2013 and is now teaches dual credit at Chapin High School.