Honor for Dad

Mr. RODARTE texted this..”Gilbert Rodarte from Pflugerville,Tx. Give me a call. I have some info on your Dad.”
I called him, and each sport’s annual high school athletes award is now called The Ray Sanchez High School Athletes of the Year Award (El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame). He’s sending a program for that event held in June this year!

2022 Ray Sanchez High School Athletes of the Year

The El Paso Hall of Fame and presenting sponsor, the El Paso Sports Commission, are pleased to announce the 2022 Ray Sanchez High School Student-Athletes of the Year. Mr. Ray Sanchez passed away on January 12, 2022, at the age of 94. He was a decorated sports writer, author, and sports historian for over 60 years and a 1978 inductee into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame. Words from the El Paso Hall of Fame president Scott Stein, “We are very pleased to honor the great memory of Ray Sanchez with the high school student-athletes of the year now named after him. 

He wrote several books, as noted:

Basketball’s Biggest Upset (Texas Western changed the sport with a win over Kentucky in 1966).

Here you will find the true and detailed story of the Miners’ march to the 1966 NCAA basketball championship.  Coach Don Haskinshas called Basketball’s Biggest Upset the most accurate account of that miraculous season.  The book includes backgrounds of all the players as well as that of the coaches plus exciting play-by-play descriptions of the most important games of that year.

Haskins: The Bear Facts (An autobiography of legendary UTEP basketball coach Don Haskins.

E-Book Haskins: The Bear Facts by Ray Sanchez

The Miners (The history of sports at University of Texas at El Paso co-written with Bob Ingram)

El Paso’s Greatest Sports Heroes I Have Known (A historical novel).

The gods of Racing (A humorous novel about the many trials and tribulations of horse racing fans).

From Browns to Diablos (The history of professional baseball in El Paso co-written with Bob Ingram). 

Ray Sanchez also served as a consultant for the movie 

Glory Road is about the 1966 Texas Western College Miners team, which won the NCAA national basketball championship.

He has been inducted into five El Paso sports halls of fame. He was inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, the El Paso High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985, the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, the El Paso Boxing/Karate Hall of Fame in 1993 and the El Paso Golf Hall of Fame in 1995.

One of his columns is Soccer, Texas Hall Subjects Bring Responses © 2009

By Ray Sanchez

July 12, 2009

Is soccer a major sport? It is worldwide. In fact, soccer is the only true worldwide sport.

We in this country brag we’re world champions in baseball, basketball, and football, but it’s a sham. Few countries play those sports. But just about all countries play soccer.

Is soccer a major sport in the United States? Some people think so, and I guess that’s why some folks took umbrage with the fact I didn’t include soccer as a major sport along with baseball, basketball, and football in a recent column. Fans of Del Valle High School, which has won two state soccer championships in four years, were especially unhappy.

I DON’T BLAME them, but including soccer as a major high school, sport opens a Pandora’s Box. How about tennis, volleyball, track, and golf? Have there been state team records kept on those sports?

El Paso High School dominated tennis statewide in the 1950s under coach Maybelle Long. The Tigers won many individual and doubles titles — but team titles?

And we’ve had individual champions in the other minor sports — but team titles?

I’ve been doing much research this year and hope to keep doing more. I’ll let you know more as we go along.

GOING BACK in history to find our former state high school champs has been a lot of fun for me, and such columns spark interest, replies, and information from readers.

For instance, many people, including local sports historians like Steve Hill, were surprised to learn that El Paso High School had played in eight state championship basketball games and won four. I wasn’t aware of it, either, until I started the research last year.

All in all, El Paso teams have won seven state crowns in high school major sports — El Paso High four in basketball, Eastwood one in basketball, and Bowie High and Socorro one in baseball.

KEVIN LOVELL, general manager of KVIA-TV, was astonished to read in this column that Nolan Richardson has not been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. He says it’s ridiculous, and he’s ready to campaign for Richardson’s induction.

Richardson is the only El Paso athlete I know of who not only played football, baseball, and basketball in high school but was voted All-District in all three sports. Then he starred in basketball at UTEP.

After his playing days, he went on to have an outstanding and unique career in coaching. He is still the only basketball coach to win all three major college basketball championships – the junior college tournament, the NIT, and the NCAA.

RENTON HILBURN, media relations director of the Sun Bowl, corrected me on one point I made in an earlier column. 

Jesse Whittenton was not inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

Either is a huge honor, and one can agree that the former UTEP star deserves to be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame alongside Don Maynard, another UTEP star who has already been voted in.

At UTEP (then Texas Western College), Whittenton played fullback his first year, halfback his second, and quarterback his last two. He was the Sun Bowl MVP in 1955 after leading the Miners to a 47-20 victory over Florida State.

At Green Bay, he helped the Packers win two NFL titles and was voted to the Pro Bowl four times.

And just for a kicker, did you know that he and his cousin, Don Whittington, put up the money to get Lee Trevino started on the PGA Tour?

Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by e-mail at rayf358@yahoo.com, or online at http://www.raysanchezbooks.com 

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About desertturle

Anita Henson aka Winnie. A retired teacher, and caregiver for my loving parents, wife, and mother. Married to Greg "Tex" Henson.
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