The “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture is illuminated in blue and orange on special occasions, including the anniversary of the Texas Western College men’s basketball team winning the NCAA championship in 1966. Photo: J.R. Hernandez / UTEP Communications
The “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture at UTEP’s Sun Bowl-University Roundabout will be illuminated in blue and orange Friday evening, March 19, 2021, to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Texas Western College (now The University of Texas at El Paso) men’s basketball team winning the NCAA championship.
On March 19, 1966, in College Park, Maryland, Texas Western defeated the No. 1-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats 72-65 in a game that forever changed college athletics. Legendary coach Don Haskins made history by starting five African-American players, which marked the first time an NCAA basketball championship game featured such a lineup. The game is recognized for signaling a breakthrough for African-Americans in college sports.
UTEP is the only university in Texas that has won an NCAA men’s basketball championship title. The achievement was chronicled in the 2006 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.
Author: Christina Rodriguez – UTEP Communications