On Monday, Sun Bowl Association officials announced that local sports writer, Ray Sanchez is the 2019 Legend of the Sun Bowl for the 86th Annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.
Sanchez, who currently works for the El Paso Inc., began attending and covering the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl in 1950. The graduate of El Paso High School and UTEP also served in the U.S. Army from 1945-47 and achieved the rank of Sergeant.
Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas was elated to be able to honor a local El Pasoan, who will be covering his 60th Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, as this year’s Legend of the Sun Bowl.
“Ray [Sanchez] has helped us in so many ways to tell the great story of the Sun Bowl,” Olivas said. “He helped put together our 75th-Annivesary team while also writing game stories for more than 50 Sun Bowl football games. He is a true historian and hall-of-fame writer.”
Sanchez was the sports editor at the El Paso Herald-Post from 1950 to 1990. He covered everything from high school sports, to golf, racing and bowling. He was also the first Hispanic sports editor ever in El Paso.
Once Sanchez retired from the El Paso Herald-Post, he would go on to write columns for the El Paso Times and is currently writing columns for the El Paso Inc.
“The thing I like most about the Sun Bowl is to have seen it grow steadily from a high school game to one of the best games in the country,” Sanchez said. “What a thrill!”
He has written and published seven books on sports and written for numerous national publications, while also covering many major events such as the Dallas Cowboys, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Triple Crown races and the U.S. Open (golf). Sanchez has interviewed many nationally known figures such as Tom Landry, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Bird, etc., as well as El Paso’s most famous local sports stars.
The winner of UTEP’s most prestigious journalism award, “The Hicks-Middagh Award for Excellence in Journalism” in 1991, Sanchez has also been inducted into a various halls of fame including the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame (1978), the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame (1989), the El Paso High School Athletic Hall of Fame (1985), El Paso Boxing/Karate Hall of Fame (1993), the El Paso Golf Hall of Fame (1995). He was also the recipient of the UTEP Gold Nugget Award, which honors graduates for their exceptional achievements and contributions to their professions, communities and UTEP (2011).
“The most memorable game I covered was the Miners’ victory over TCU. It was memorable because of the strategy coach Bobby Dobbs used to win the game. He punted deep in his own territory late in the game and the UTEP defense held. The Miners won, 13-12 [in 1965],” Sanchez described. “The second most memorable game was when Notre Dame came to play. It was a frigid afternoon and fans shivered throughout the game, but it sold out within 24 hours of the announcement the Irish were coming. Sure enough, the fans filled the stadium despite the weather and Notre Dame won, 33-17 [in 2010].”
Sanchez is married (Helen) and has four children (Anita, Victor, Daniel, David).
He will be honored at the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, 2019.