Bobblehead Hall of Fame Unveils UTEP Championship Bobblehead By Beau Bagley
El Paso, TX - This morning, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a bobblehead commemorating UTEP’s 1966 Men’s Basketball NCAA Division 1 National Championship. The 1965–66 Texas Western Miners basketball team represented Texas Western College, now known as the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The bobbleheads, which are individually numbered to only 216, are only available in the National Bobblehead HOF and Museum’s Online Store. This is the first bobbleheads commemorating UTEP’s National Championship.
The bobblehead features UTEP mascot, Paydirt Pete, on a UTEP logo base with a replica National Championship trophy as well as a commemorative backing. This is the 25th bobblehead released in the series that commemorates schools that have won a Men’s Basketball National Championship. The officially licensed bobbleheads are in stock and ship now. They cost $40 each, with flat rate shipping of $8.
The 1965-66 Texas Western Miners were coached by Hall of Famer Don Haskins and made history by becoming the first team with an all-black starting lineup to win an NCAA Basketball National Championship. The Miners defeated an all-white Kentucky team by a score of 72–65 in the historic championship game, which was played at Cole Field House in College Park, Maryland on March 19, 1966. The team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and inspired the book and film Glory Road.
The team faced many issues because of their color. When they won the championship, no one brought out a ladder for them to cut down the net. Nevil Shed had to hoist up Willie Worsley to cut down the net. The team was never invited on "The Ed Sullivan Show," which was customary for the NCAA Champions. The team’s championship led to the integration of the Southeastern Conference, which admitted their first black basketball player in 1967.
"These bobbleheads are the perfect way for UTEP fans to commemorate the school’s historic championship,” said Phil Sklar, Co-Founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. “These will be cherished collectibles that celebrate Texas Western’s amazing accomplishments.”
The NCAA has crowned a Men’s Basketball National Champion since 1939, with only 35 different schools winning at least one National Championship and only 15 schools winning multiple championships. UTEP marks the 25th school produced in the series. The first series featured schools that won multiple championships and included the following schools: Kentucky Wildcats (8 Championships), North Carolina Tar Heels (5), Indiana Hoosiers (5), Connecticut Huskies (4), Louisville Cardinals (3), Kansas Jayhawks (3), Villanova Wildcats (2), North Carolina State Wolfpack (2), Michigan State Spartans (2), Oklahoma State Cowboys (2), San Francisco Dons (2), Cincinnati Bearcats (2) and Florida Gators (2).
The following schools were produced in the second series, which included teams that won a single National Championship: Arizona Wildcats (1997), Arkansas Razorbacks (1994), California Golden Bears (1959), Georgetown Hoyas (1984), Marquette Golden Eagles (1977), Ohio State Buckeyes (1960), Oregon Ducks (1939), Syracuse Orange (2003), UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (1990), Utah Utes (1944) and Wisconsin Badgers (1941).
The Hall of Fame and Museum hopes to complete the series over the next year. Championship bobbleheads for the following schools have yet to be created: UCLA, Duke, Maryland, CCNY, Holy Cross, LaSalle, Loyola (Ill.), Michigan and Stanford.
All bobbleheads in the series were produced exclusively for the National Bobblehead HOF by Forever Collectibles and are officially licensed.