Special Lighting of 'Mining Minds' to Honor 1966 Championship Team
Last Updated on March 19, 2019 at 12:00 AM
Originally published March 19, 2019
By UC Staff
The "Mining Minds" pickaxe sculpture at UTEP's University Avenue roundabout will be illuminated in blue and orange Tuesday evening, March 19, 2019, to celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the Texas Western College (now The University of Texas at El Paso) men's basketball team winning the NCAA championship.
It was March 19, 1966, in College Park, Maryland, when Texas Western beat top-ranked Kentucky 72-65 in the title game - a game that forever changed college athletics. Legendary Coach Don Haskins made history by staring five African-American players, the first time that had been done in an NCAA basketball championship game. After the 1966 championship, college teams throughout the South began aggressively recruiting African-American athletes, ending years of segregation.
UTEP is the only university in Texas that has won an NCAA men's basketball championship title. The achievement was chronicled in the film "Glory Road."
"Mining Minds" is an iconic piece of public art installed in 2010 to enhance the UTEP campus. At night, orange lights illuminate the steel structure while light from LEDs emanates from the perforated "ones" and "zeroes" at each end of the pick.
On special occasions, including historic dates, major annual milestones and to celebrate special accomplishments, the pick is illuminated in blue and orange. Learn more about the sculpture and its artist at miningminds.utep.edu.