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Kugler Era Ready Football Team Aiming for Breakthrough Year

First-Year Head Coach Leads Volleyball into 2013 Campaign Soccer Team Stacked With Young Talent, Eyes Retribution

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MUST BE FOOTBALL SEASON

The Miners prepare to kick off the Kugler era against the New Mexico Lobos on Sept. 7 in the Sun Bowl in front of thousands of supporters.

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REPEAT SUCCESS

Honorable Mention All-American and senior Xitlali Herrera provides leadership on the court as the UTEP volleyball team looks to build on last year’s success.

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Miner Athletic Club

Brumbelow Bldg., Room 109 500 W. University Ave. El Paso, TX 79968 www.minerathleticclub.com

Jeff Darby

Senior Associate A.D. / Communications

Chris Park

Associate A.D. for External Relations & Development

Jon Teicher

Assistant A.D./ Director of Broadcasting

Omar Cruz

Assistant Director for Development

Denise Mata

Director of Media Relations

Mark Brunner

Associate Director of Media Relations

Audrey Westcott

Media Relations Assistant

Contributors

Drew Bonney, John Dankovich, Bryan Gates, Genevieve Gomez

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Fall Edition - 2013

FOOTBALL TO LAUNCH NEW ERA The Miners are ready to show a new look and attitude when New Mexico rolls in on Sept. 7

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NEW FACE LEADING VOLLEYBALL Holly Watts talks about her passion and expectations for the 2013 campaign as she takes the reins of the UTEP program

NEW RECORD SET

This year’s Orange Fever Fiesta raised the bar with a night filled with laughs, memories and an exciting dueling pianos performance

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LOOK BACK INTO TIME

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Former Miner Mark McDonald, Sr. continues his letterwinner series with UTEP volleyball star Fabiola Kruthaupt

STORIES 8

TEICH’S CORNER

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YOUNG TALENT

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HOOPS TAKING OVER

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GARI SET FOR 2014

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HOOPS LUNCHEON

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FACES IN THE CROWD

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TEICH’S CORNER Jon Teicher - The ‘Voice of the Miners’

I

am often asked about my favorite time of the year. Without hesitation and for many reasons, my answer is the start of UTEP’s academic year. For those of us that enjoy UTEP Athletics, this time represents a fresh start, the time that competition begins anew for cross country, football, soccer, and volleyball. Basketball and rifle won’t be far behind. Even golf, softball, and tennis play fall season schedules, though the score keeping for those aren’t official until springtime. For those of us serving UTEP Athletics, this time represents the culmination of months of planning and preparation, so that student-athletes and spectators alike might enjoy the spectacle of competition. Personally, the season’s start gives me the opportunity to do what I most enjoy and that is to describe UTEP Football and Basketball play-by-play action for all Miner fans once again.

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Furthermore, it won’t be long now until the weather begins to cool. October and November bring, in my opinion, the finest weather of the year El Paso has to offer and certainly makes the viewing of football and soccer in particular even more pleasant.

“...this time represents a fresh start, the time competition begins anew ...”

Another question I am frequently asked is which sport I enjoy calling most. It is an interesting question for which I have no real answer other than that they are all enjoyable, exciting and quite unique.

Baseball, the one that got me started in professional broadcasting, is likely the most challenging of them all given the relative lack of action and all the time in between what action there is. Football’s challenge is that 22 performers are on the field at all times and keeping tabs on the ball’s whereabouts can be tricky. I relish the fact that there are only 12 games to a season, the significance of each and every one of them and the preparation that goes into my broadcast game day each week. Basketball is just so fast and keeping up with the game’s pace can be demanding. But being in the center of a loud, packed arena is quite a rush and heightens the satisfaction of calling collegiate hoops. Here’s hoping that you too enjoy this time of year and another season of UTEP Athletics!


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Upcoming Home ScheduleS Fall Edition - 2013

FOOTBALL

Sept. 7 Sept. 21 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Nov. 16

New Mexico 6 p.m. UTSA* 6 p.m. La Tech* 5:30 p.m. Tulsa* TBD FIU* 6 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Sept. 6-7 UTEP Invitational All Day Sept. 20-21 UTEP/NMSU Invit. All Day Oct. 4 Florida Atlantic* 7 p.m. Oct. 6 FIU* 12 p.m. Oct. 20 Rice* 12 p.m. Oct. 23 Grand Canyon 7 p.m. Oct. 25 UAB* 7 p.m. Oct. 27 UTSA* 12 p.m. Nov. 15 Tulsa* 7 p.m. Nov. 17 East Carolina* 12 p.m.

SOCCER

Sept. 6 Sept. 8 Sept. 27 Sept. 29 Oct. 11 Oct. 25 Oct. 27

UC Riverside 7 p.m. Stephen F. Austin 12 p.m. Rice* 7 p.m. Southern Miss* 12 p.m. Charlotte* 7 p.m. UTSA* 7 p.m. Colorado College* 12 p.m.

* Indicates Conference USA game

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Get to Know Your Miners! What are you most looking forward to this fall semester?

TORI MARTYN - SOCCER “As I come into my senior year, I’m looking to serve as a positive role model on the field and in the classroom for all the new faces on the team. This will set the bar for my other teammates and future generations of Miners.”

PAULO MELENDEZ - FOOTBALL “ I can’t wait to unveil all the hard we put in football during the summer. It’s an exciting time at UTEP with the centennial celebration and it would be even more so to have a great season with our new coach.”

VICTORIA VALENCIA - VOLLEYBALL “I am excited to start my senior year. You do not realize how fast the years go by. I was just a senior in high school and now I am a senior in college. I am balancing school, practice and applying to physical therapy school, so it is a little nerve-wracking but very exciting.”

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Miners to Ring in New Football Era Against Old Rival UTEP looks for a bowl berth under new head coach After months of preparation, the UTEP football team is ready to usher in the Sean Kugler era. The Miners will take the field on Saturday, Sept. 7 and battle arch-rival New Mexico in the 2013 season opener in the Sun Bowl. Kugler, who enjoyed a long run as an offensive line coach in the NFL before returning to the place he once called home, has certainly left his stamp on the program. This year’s Miners will be hard working, tough and disciplined. Kugler made it clear that he wouldn’t settle for anything less when he ended a practice early in Alpine, Texas on Aug. 12. Not satisfied with their effort, Kugler sent his players back to the dorm at Sul Ross State University. The Miners later made up the practice in El Paso 10 days later. “They had a practice where they didn’t perform up to standard and that’s why we made it up,” Kugler said. “That’s how it’s going to be around here. We’re going to do things right or we’re going to do it over.” The the

Aug. team’s

12 incident aside, progress during its

Kugler 12-day

was stay

pleased with in Alpine.

“I thought it was a great camp,” he said. “The kids worked hard and got a lot accomplished.”

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The Miners conducted their first scrimmage of the season on Saturday, Aug. 17 in Alpine, and there were plenty of highlights on both sides of the ball. Texas A&M transfer Jameill Showers completed 9-of-15 passes for 150 yards and was named UTEP’s starting quarterback just a few days later. The Miners once again have a plethora of skill players on offense. Nathan Jeffery is back to spearhead the ground game after rushing for 100 yards in four games last season. UTEP’s new pro-style offense requires a fullback, and the Miners have plenty of short-yardage options in 220-pound Josh Bell, 235-pound Hunter Nix (who was moved from linebacker) and 240-pound freshman Darrin Laufasa. Jordan Leslie (973 yards last season) leads the receiving corps, while 6-5, 230-pound Ian Hamilton emerged as another big target in preseason camp. The offensive line is largely seasoned with El Paso native Paulo Melendez stepping in as the starting center. The line should be the strength of coordinator Scott Stoker’s 4-2-5 defense, as seniors Adam Ayala, Marcus Bagley, James Davidson and Germard Reed have combined to make 52 career starts. The linebacker position has been fortified by the move of Horace Miller from end. He had a team-leading six sacks a year ago. The secondary is somewhat experienced, with junior college transfers Jameel Erving and Nick Gathrite expected to play major roles, but the defensive backs made plays in the Alpine scrimmage with interceptions and tipped balls. The Miners should be excellent in the return game behind Autrey Golden (no. 11 in the nation in kickoff returns in 2012). The biggest question is at kicker and punter, where

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“I thought it was a great camp. The kids worked hard and got a lot accomplished”


four freshmen (Tanner Kneisly, Jay Mattox, Mike Ruggles, Mikael Sroka) have been battling for starting nods. El Pasoan and wide receiver Brandon Moss is another option at punter. And, last but not least, the Miners will have to find a role for running back Aaron Jones. The El Paso native and Burges High School graduate has been spectacular in fall camp. “We’ve got plenty of camp to go,” Kugler said two weeks prior to the New Mexico game. “We’re going to look at some of the backup players. We feel pretty comfortable at most of the number 1 spots. We’re going to go out there [and scrimmage] and see how the 2’s and the 3’s perform under live bullets.” Due to major construction surrounding UTEP’s campus transformation project, the Miners will play only five home games for the first time in 11 years. UTEP will take on UTSA Sept. 21, La Tech Oct. 5 and Tulsa Oct. 12 before closing out the campaign with five of six games on the road. Up first are the Lobos, who will be making their first trek to El Paso in six years led by coach Bob Davie. “We’re fortunate that they play a game before us (versus UTSA on Aug. 31),” Kugler said. “We’ll have a chance to look at them a little bit. They run a very complicated offensive and defensive scheme, so we have our work cut out. We’re going to have a lot of preparation time to get ready for them.” www.MinerAthleticClub.com ‹ 17


THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN Volleyball Head Coach Holly Watts looks to continue the program’s recent success A player since junior high, Holly Watts has made a career around her love for volleyball. From standing out on her collegiate team, to assisting one of the top head coaches in the nation, to now holding her first head coaching position, Watts has come full circle and is ready to start working with the Miners. “Everyone has been really welcoming and nice,” Watts said. “The team has been encouraging and excited to get started for the year, so I am excited to get started too.” Taking the place of Ken Murphy, who served as UTEP’s coach for the past seven years, Watts brings 19 years of Division I coaching experience and a passion for the sport. Originally from Devine, Texas, she played on both her junior high and high school teams. She went on to play for Texas from 1989-93. Watts helped keep the Longhorns in the nation’s top 20 as they won five conference titles. She was elected the team’s most valuable player in 1993.

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Watts also earned All-Southwest Conference honors and was a member of the All-South Region Team her senior year. She also applied her talents to the Texas basketball team, playing for one season and helping the Longhorns to an SWC title and top-25 ranking. UTEP volleyball players are ready to learn all that they can from her and bring it to the court. “I am excited about coach Watts,” junior outside hitter Taylor Nix said. “Having a new coach is going to change a lot. I think we are going to be more disciplined and that’s exactly what our program needs.” Watts graduated in 1994 with a degree in coaching from Texas. Her first full-time job was as an assistant coach at the University of Texas at Arlington, while she coached the Texas Impact volleyball club team simultaneously. In 1996, Watts moved to the University of Arkansas where, as an assistant, she helped coach the Lady Razorbacks to nine SEC Western Division titles and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2008 she followed then-Arkansas head volleyball coach Chris Poole to Florida State, where she served another four years on his staff. At Florida State, Watts helped groom a team with a 130-34 record, four NCAA Tournament appearances and a berth in the national semifinals in 2011. That same year, Florida State was ranked as the No. 7 team in the country and Watts was named the AVCA Assistant Coach of the Year.

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Having enjoyed a prosperous career as an assistant coach under Poole, Watts is ready to lead her own team but admits the reality of being a head coach has not hit her yet. “So far going from an assistant coach to a head coach has not been very different,” Watts said. “It is exciting in name and it sounds great, but it doesn’t really sink in until the first match.” After practicing for about a month, the Miners started a campaign where they are picked to finish among the top teams in Conference USA. The preseason Conference USA polls placed UTEP fifth in the league. “The team’s effort has been really good in practices,” Watts said. “I feel like they are all trying to do the new things that we have talked about. We are trying to implement a winning volleyball culture.” UTEP opened its 2013 season at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Hawaii and was competitive in losses to NCAA Tournament teams San Diego and Texas. The Longhorns were 2012 national champions. The Miners will play their first home matches this weekend at Memorial Gym, facing Southern (12 p.m.) and Oral Roberts (7 p.m.) on Friday and Texas Southern (2 p.m.) on Saturday. “I think UTEP fans are going to be excited with the solid play we are going to have,” Watts said. “We are going to be fast. We are going to keep working on our ball control, so that we can be dynamic on the outside. We want to be dynamic in the middle with options all the way across the net, so I think our fans are going to really enjoy watching us play.”

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LAST HURRAH FOR THE “FAB FIVE” Miners Shooting for Return to C-USA Championship Led by Seniors

Jade Babcock, Kenah Linger, Tori Martyn, Azia Nicholson and Gino Soto all arrived as freshmen at UTEP in 2010. Each took a different path and some traveled further than others - Martyn is native to Alberta, Canada, while Soto attended high school in El Paso - but underneath it all was a common bond: an overwhelming passion and love for the sport of soccer. The chemistry of the group was evident early on, and it has only grown stronger in the subsequent years. There have been ups and downs, but throughout it all the five ladies have remained committed to each other and to the program, all the while striving to achieve a goal they set very early on. That goal, for UTEP soccer to play in the NCAA Tournament, nearly came to fruition during their sophomore season of 2011 when the Miners made a magical run to the finals of the Conference USA Tournament. UTEP pushed host and unbeaten Memphis to the brink before being edged out on a golden goal in the second overtime session, but it appeared poised for a successful run at the crown in 2012. It turned out to be a rollercoaster ride of a season, with the loss of five key players to injury and some tough breaks on the road derailing aspirations of an NCAA Tournament bid. Things looked promising early with the Miners standing 7-2-0 heading into league play. Injuries caught up with

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them, though, and the then-junior class was left to ponder what if as the Orange and Blue fell short of qualifying for the C-USA Tournament in El Paso. The only saving grace for the group was that a shot at redemption remained. That chance at redemption is here, with the 2013 season recently kicking off. It is time for the quintet to shine, as senior leaders both on and off the pitch. “We have a great group of seniors leading the way this season,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “They are all very motivated and want to end their careers at UTEP on a high note. All five have played significant roles during their careers. I think this is one of the strongest senior classes we’ve ever had. “ What makes their story more special is the fact that large senior classes are becoming increasingly rare in soccer. Babcock, Linger, Martyn, Nicholson and Soto afford the Orange and Blue their largest senior class since 2007 (also five). 24 › Miner Pride › Fall Edition 2013

“We have a great group of seniors leading the way this season... They are all very motivated and want to end their career at UTEP on a high note.”


And perhaps the most valuable asset of having a large senior class is the experience they bring to the table. They have combined to play 21,469 minutes (357.8 hours) of soccer during their careers at UTEP. Their final journey commenced the third weekend of August, with the Miners kicking off a six-game homestand on a high note with a pair of victories. Babcock and Nicholson each contributed goals while Linger, Martyn and Soto made their presence felt in other areas of the pitch. After the six-game homestand, the Orange and Blue will wrap up non-conference play with four straight road games. UTEP will then put its focus on C-USA play, with 10 contests (five home/five road) in the revamped league. It all leads up to the C-USA Championships (Nov. 6-10 in Houston, Texas), with only 10 of the conference’s 16 squads qualifying for the event.

“I think this is one of the strongest senior classes we’ve ever had.”

The victor of the tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, and it would be the ultimate sendoff for the five seniors. Only time will tell whether that comes to pass, but perhaps more meaningful than anything is the approach of the group that is best summed up by Babcock. “We just don’t want to forget the game of soccer and why we play it,” she said. “We love it.”

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Miners Set Sight On Continued Progress UTEP to Launch 2013-14 Season With Orange & White Scrimmage Oct. 26 With five of the top seven players returning from last season and an outstanding group of newcomers joining the fold, the UTEP men’s basketball team figures to be in hot pursuit of the 2014 Conference USA title. A year ago the Miners increased their overall win total from 14 to 18, their conference victory tally from seven to 10 and advanced a round deeper in the C-USA Tournament, falling to Southern Miss in the semifinals. UTEP returns six players who appeared in at least 24 games last season, plus sophomore center Hooper Vint who played in 12 contests. Together the seven players accounted for 67 percent (1,361-of-2,042) of the team’s points, 75.1 percent (674-of-897) of the individual rebounds and 46.7 percent (200-of-428) of the assists a year ago. Three UTEP players in particular -- junior guard C.J. Cooper, junior forward Cedrick Lang and junior forward/guard Julian Washburn -- are hoping to build on fast finishes to the 2012-13 season. Cooper scored eight or more points in six of the last seven games (10.9 ppg during that stretch), shooting 46.2 percent (18-for-39) from three-point range. He tallied a career-high 20 points in the final game of the season versus Southern Miss. Lang became a more aggressive offensive performer late in the campaign, scoring in double figures in four of the last six games (9.5 ppg). And Washburn collected 18.0 ppg over the last four outings, shooting 63 percent (29-for-46) from the floor and 83.3 percent (10-for-12) from the charity stripe. He scored 19 points or more in three of the last four games, the exception being in the season finale against Southern Miss when he was limited to 31 minutes due to foul trouble. When Washburn’s offense catches up with his work on the other end of the floor, watch out. Last season he earned a spot on the C-USA All-Defensive Team with sterling individual efforts versus Tulane’s Josh Davis (6-for-19 from the field in two games), Tulsa’s Scottie Haralson 3-for-16 in two games), East Carolina’s Maurice Kemp (3-for-13 in one game), Rice’s Tamir Jackson (4-for-13 in one game), Southern Miss’ Dwayne Davis (3-for-13 in one game), Houston’s Danuel House (0-for-7 in one game) and SMU’s Jalen Jones (3-for-7 in one game) within league play. Other significant returnees include senior center John Bohannon, who has posted solid numbers in the Orange and Blue with 824 points, 560 rebounds and 110 blocks in 93 games. Junior guard McKenzie Moore should be vastly improved in 2013-14 after practicing for basically the second half of last season. Despite limited catch-up time, Moore averaged 8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists 26 › Miner Pride › Fall Edition 2013


in 2012-13 and hit a memorable 25-foot shot at the buzzer to send UTEP to a 68-67 win at East Carolina. Four freshmen dot the roster, including 7-1 center Matt Willms who redshirted a year ago. Willms, incidentally, was a teammate of former UNLV standout Anthony Bennett -- the no. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft -- while playing at Findlay Prep during the 2011-12 season. The Miners also bring in guard Josh Brown, swingman Jake Flaggert and forward Vince Hunter. Willms and Hunter, in particular, are expected to make serious contributions inside. The most significant loss from last season is guard Jacques Streeter, who ranked third nationally in assist/turnover ratio a year ago (3.11) while starting 31 games. Identifying a primary and secondary ball handler will be one of coach Tim Floyd’s top priorities early in preseason practices.

“...the UTEP men’s basketball team figures to be in hot pursuit of the 2014 Conference USA title.”

For the second time in four years, the Don Haskins Center will be the site of the Conference USA Championship. This year’s event is slated for March 11-15, coinciding with UTEP’s centennial celebration. The championship game will be played at 9:30 a.m. MT on Saturday, March 15 and will be nationally televised on CBS. The Miners will tip-off the season with the Orange & White scrimmage on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Haskins Center. The full schedule is available now at utepathletics.com. Floyd enters his fourth season at the helm of the UTEP program – and his 20th as a collegiate head coach – and is zeroing in on 400 victories. He is a combined 386-221 in stops at Idaho, New Orleans, Iowa State, USC and with the Miners.

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A International Rising Star Gari Looks to Continue Summer Success on the Court and in the Classroom

The transition from high school to college is challenging for any student-athlete. The practices are longer, there are more games and there is a noticeable difference in the caliber of competition. By the time the year is over and summer vacation has arrived, most freshmen are ready for a break from the gym. Rising UTEP women’s basketball sophomore Irene Gari is cut from a different mold. While she did return home to her native country of Spain, Gari spent plenty of time in the gym. And it wasn’t just putting in time for workouts at a leisurely pace, but rather competing with the best players in the world at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships from July 18-28 in Lithuania. Gari was a key cog for Spain, which compiled an impressive record of 7-2 en route to staking a fourth-place finish out of a field of 16 countries. It marked her third FIBA appearance for Spain, as she previously competed at the 2012 U18 European Championship and the 2012 U16 European Championship Division A. The small forward accounted for 9.1 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per contest and 2.1 assists per game. She posted four double-digit scoring contests, including pouring in 20 points to help Spain punch its ticket to the semifinals in an 80-62 dispatching of Canada on July 27. Other double-digit efforts included 13 points in the opener against Japan (July 18), 19 points versus Brazil (July 24) and 10 in the third/fourth-place tilt against Australia (July 28). Gari grabbed at least four boards in a quartet of contests, while dishing out five-plus assists twice. Overall for the event Gari hit on 42.6 percent (29-of-68) of her shots, including 41.2 percent (7-of17) on three-point tries, and connected on 85 percent (17-of-20) of her free throws. She also took good care of the basketball, with 19 assists to just six turnovers. The play in the European Championships will certainly aid Gari as she prepares for her second season in the Sun City. Gari showed off a versatile skill set as a true freshman. She played in all 32 contests, including 23 starts, and averaged 5.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists, in a solid first season.

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“ The play in the European Championships will certainly aid Gari as she prepares for her second season in the Sun City.” Gari recorded seven double-digit scoring games, including a career-best 19 points while grabbing five boards in the Miners’ rout of I-10 rival NM State, 66-44. That effort, combined with a 14-point, five rebound showing in a triumph over Eastern New Mexico, helped her earn Conference USA Freshman of the Week accolades on Dec. 10, 2012. She was third on the team in three pointers made (20), including a clutch trey with 34 seconds left to put UTEP ahead (54-52) for good in an eventual conquest of UAB in the 2013 C-USA quarterfinals. She also showed a deft passing touch with 50 assists, including a lob to Anete Steinberga for the game-winning layup with 10 seconds to play at Rice.

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Hoops Tip-Off Luncheon Come and Celebrate a New Year of UTEP Basketball on Oct. 23

The Miner Athletic Club will hold the first annual Hoops Tip-Off Luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 12 - 1 p.m. at the El Paso Convention Center. This event is open to the public and will include lunch. All fans in attendance will get a first look at the upcoming season and hear the inside scoop from the men’s and women’s coaches Tim Floyd and Keitha Adams. Seating is limited, so we encourage all supporters to purchase their tickets as soon as possible. Tables of ten are available for $200 each and individual tickets cost $20. Reserve your seat today by visiting our offices or calling 915-747-8759!

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“This is an exciting time for UTEP Basketball and we are ready to kick things off with the upcoming luncheon.” www.MinerAthleticClub.com ‹ 31


Orange Fever Fiesta

Sold-Out Event Raises the Bar for Student-Athlete Scholarships

UTEP Athletics and the Miner Athletic Club hosted the annual Orange Fever Fiesta, presented by Western Refining, Entravision and Glazer’s Distributing, on Aug. 17 at Grace Gardens. Proceeds were up 20 percent from last year and are applied to the cost of student-athlete scholarships. The 2013 edition of Orange Fever Fiesta began with a large silent auction sponsored by Glazer’s and featuring different packages and experiences provided by local businesses and UTEP. This was an increase of over 150 items offered the previous year. Afterwards, a dinner was held in the ballroom following a live auction, “fund an athlete” and a performance by 176 Keys Dueling Pianos. In total there were over 475 guests present, making this Orange Fever Fiesta a sellout for the first time in many years. “This year’s Orange Fever Fiesta was tremendous success,” said UTEP Associate Athletic Director for External Operations and Development Chris Park. “Our staff did a great job enhancing the event and raising more scholarship dollars compared to previous years.” UTEP Athletics would like to thank the following sponsors for their major contributions to this year’s Orange Fever Fiesta: Western Refining, Glazer’s, Entravision, Price’s Creameries, El Paso Electric, Robert Bowling, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Sun Travel, Grace Gardens and Mike D Productions.

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“Proceeds were up 20 percent from last year and are applied to the cost of student-athlete scholarships.” A Big Thank You to This Year’s Event Major Sponsors!

ROBERT BOWLING

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Miners are Forever

Words of Advice From a Former UTEP Letterman - by Mark McDonald Sr. Since the school opened in 1914, hundreds – perhaps a few thousand – athletes have come to College of Mines, Texas Western and now UTEP, earned a degree and later built fruitful lives and careers. None has a more compelling backstory than that of Fabiola Cruz Kruthaupt. Born into modest means in Mexico, Fabiola immigrated to the U.S. with her parents the right way when she was 12. The hard-working family settled in El Paso and, while learning English, the girl called “Faby” soon excelled in the classroom, and as middle blocker after earning a spot on the Ysleta High School volleyball team. That was only the beginning. Fast forward to today … Kruthaupt – a 1991 UTEP communication grad, four-year volleyball letterwinner, wife, mother of three, holder of a masters degree, respected educator -- stands as a baseball, apple pie, stars-andstripes success story. Cue the old Chevy ads. “Born in Mexico, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I could go that far in sports,” Kruthaupt says, pointing to her coach at Ysleta Mike Jones, who later coached at the University of the Pacific. “Volleyball opened doors for me … getting to go to UTEP … getting a good education … graduating. It’s a dream. “I am so thankful for the opportunities in this country. People who complain have no idea what we have here.” She is especially thankful to her instructors at UTEP, citing her Miners coach Norm Brandl as an inspired leader.

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“Coach Brandl was awesome at developing talent in El Paso,” Kruthaupt says. “My fondest memories are when we would step on the court, lining up for each match. To me, it was amazing, wearing the uniform, representing UTEP. It never got old for me. “When I think how hard it is, to play at such level of competition, to play with a bunch of amazing girls … it was a privilege.” Upon graduation, Kruthaupt played club-level volleyball in Mexico, Virginia and Nevada before retiring to the bleachers. Along the way, she variously started a family, earned a masters at UNLV and began teaching bi-lingual education in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is married to Department of Justice special agent John Kruthaupt, with three children: Mark, 20; Ryan, 17; and Sarah, 14. To this day, Kruthaupt maintains the UTEP connection, notably with the former Victoria Fragoso, wife of UTEP assistant basketball coach Greg Foster. If Kruthaupt gave a locker room speech at UTEP today, what would she say? “Sports develops responsibility, the sense of playing, not just for yourself, but others, on a team,” Kruthaupt says. “If you’re not having a good day, you cannot quit because it hurts the whole team. “Playing sports, going to school, you have to be organized. You must prepare. Never say, ‘Oh, I will do it later.’ “ “Be proud to wear a UTEP uniform,” Kruthaupt says. “You have earned the right, and now, you are ambassadors of our school. It will show in the way you play, in your behavior and how you conduct yourself. “Cherish this moment. Make memories right now, in travel and matches … Those will be with you forever.” McDonald, the author of six books, is the survivor of metro newsrooms, where four Texas dailies took turns trying to starve him. To share your UTEP experience, email the author at mark.mcmarketing@gmail.com. www.MinerAthleticClub.com ‹ 35


Faces in the Crowd 2013 Orange Fever Fiesta at the Grace Gardens Ballroom

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www.MinerAthleticClub.com ‚ 37


THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO Miner Athletic Club I Brumbelow Building, Room 109 I 500 W. University Ave. I El Paso, TX 79968 mac@utep.edu I 915.747.8759 facebook.com/minerathleticclub I twitter.com/UTEP_MAC I Linkedin.com/in/minerathleticclub www.minerathleticclub.com

38 › Miner Pride › Fall Edition 2013


Miner Pride - Fall 2013