GECU, El Paso’s largest locally-owned financial institution, has partnered with UTEP Athletics to celebrate 50 years of Sun Bowl Stadium. On Sept. 21, GECU will sponsor the UTEP vs. UTSA football game, exactly 50 years to the day that the Miners played their first game in the iconic venue.
On Sept. 21, 1963, Larry Durham ran 54 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage as the Miners christened the facility with a 34-7 rout of North Texas State. Durham and a group of his 1963 teammates will be on hand for the 50th Anniversary game.
“The Sun Bowl has been home to so many wonderful players, coaches and teams, and we’re looking forward to creating more memories on Sept. 21,” said UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull. “The GECU sponsorship and return of the 1963 team will make the day even more special. We thank our friends at GECU for their efforts in making this a truly momentous occasion.”
“We are so excited to be the sponsor of the Sun Bowl’s 50th Anniversary game,” said Crystal Long, President and CEO of GECU. “This is an important milestone for the Sun Bowl, UTEP and our community and GECU is proud to be a big part of the celebration. Go Miners!”
The UTSA game will also feature a very special halftime show as former UTEP cheerleader Jalyssa Walker vies to shatter her own world record for consecutive backflips. A crew from The Guinness World Records television series will be on hand to shoot the ceremony.
The Miners enter the 2013 season having played 285 games in the Sun Bowl. UTEP played in the Sun Bowl game during the 1936, 1948, 1949, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1965 and 1967 seasons.
On Oct. 15, 1966, UTEP put 68 points on the board in a runaway victory over Texas-Arlington, the most it has scored in the stadium. The Miners upset defending national champion BYU in the Sun Bowl on Oct. 26, 1985, 23-16. UTEP also posted stunning upsets of the no. 25 BYU Cougars in 1997 (14-3) and the no. 12 Houston Cougars in 2009 (58-41). On Nov. 19, 1988, UTEP knocked off Air Force 31-24 to secure the first 10-win season in school history en route to an Independence Bowl appearance. On Nov. 11, 2000, the Miners topped Rice, 38-21, to clinch at least a share of the first Western Athletic Conference championship in school annals. And on Sept. 6, 2008, a record crowd of 53,415 packed the Sun Bowl for the first-ever El Paso meeting between UTEP and Texas.
Some of the top individual performances in stadium history include Billy Stevens throwing for 500 yards and Chuck Hughes compiling 349 yards receiving versus North Texas in 1965, and Donald Buckram rushing for 262 yards in the aforementioned victory over Houston in 2009.
Senior Associate Athletic Director/Communications and University Relations
Jeff Darby is the senior associate athletic director at UTEP in charge of communications.