Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Best Local Sports Teams in El Paso

Posted on March 05, 2022 by John Harris
UTEP, then known as Texas Western, won the 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship.

In the very southwest of Texas, situated on the Rio Grande, sits El Paso, the 23rd largest city in the nation.

And yet – there are no major league sports teams there.

Though there are approximately 678,000 residents there, the number doesn’t necessarily dictate major leagues teams.

Despite that, there are still plenty of local teams at the collegiate level to enjoy. The University of Texas El Paso itself has numerous Division I teams across sports.

The next time you’re in the area looking at El Paso houses for sale, check out one of these organizations.

El Paso Rhinos

The Rhinos are the premier amateur junior ice hockey team in the city. Former El Paso Buzzards pro hockey player Cory Herman founded the team in 2006 and serves as head coach.

The team has captured nine Division Championship titles, a 2014 United Hockey Union National Championship title, and three Thorne Cup Championship titles, all awarded between 2006 and 2018.

They do fantastic things in the way of community involvement and outreach, such as frequently wearing specialized jerseys and auctioning them off to help raise funds for causes like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Special Olympics, and local youth hockey. They also host military appreciation nights with free admission for military personnel and their families, as well as adoption days with the Humane Society of El Paso and the Animal Rescue League of El Paso.

El Paso Locomotive FC

This professional soccer team is relatively new, founded in 2018.

The club plays at Southwest University Park, a baseball stadium in Downtown El Paso that is also the home field for the El Paso Chihuahuas.

El Paso Chihuahuas

This Minor League Baseball team is a San Diego Padres affiliate. They compete in the Pacific Southern Division of the Pacific Coast League.

The team debuted in 2014 and has since won a PCL Championship in 2016, two Conference Championships, and four Division Championship titles.

UTEP Miners Football

The Miners compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the West Division of Conference USA.

It’s presumed the Miners nickname came from the fact that the school was founded as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy. Reportedly, the nickname was first used in a 1914 newspaper to refer to the football team.

The team’s stadium, the Sun Bowl, is home to not only the Miners but the late December college game called the Sun Bowl.

UTEP’s Men’s Basketball

This Division I team plays at the Don Haskins Center, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

As Texas Western, the Miners won the 1966 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament against Kentucky. This game is considered highly important, as it marked the first time a team with five African-American starters won a title game.

The team has been noted in pop culture for this feat. In 1992 author Frank Fitzpatrick wrote the book And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, and the team was focused on in the 2006 Disney movie Glory Road.

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