Sun Bowl Stadium

There was something special about Sun Bowl Stadium when it opened on Sept. 21, 1963. On the first play from scrimmage at the then-30,000-seat stadium, Miner running back Larry Durham bolted 54 yards for a touchdown against North Texas State University. The Miners went on to score a 34-7 victory over the Eagles.

The Sun Bowl, home of the UTEP Miners, was the result of efforts by officials of the Sun Carnival, the supporting arm of the Sun Bowl game held each December. Officials realized that a 15,000-seat stadium such as Kidd Field, former home of the Miners and the Sun Bowl Game, needed to be replaced in order to meet the needs of network television officials. Also, as the Miner football team became more successful, additional seats were needed to accommodate the growing number of fans.

A second deck on the Sun Bowl Stadium press box was added in 1969 and in 1982 extra seating was added. The present seating capacity is 51,500. The 1969 expansion included “The Captain’s Club,” a facility for special supporters to the university. In 1998 “The Captain’s Club” had another facelift, this time with all the seatback chairs being reupholstered.

Recent additions to the stadium have included a state-of-the-art 20-foot by 26-foot video board, three strategically-placed scoreboards and a grass-like artificial surface, AstroPlay. All three components were installed in 2001.

Since 1968 the Vitalis Sun Bowl game has had a working agreement with CBS television, and the CBS radio network has been broadcasting the contest worldwide on the Armed Forces Network. Last year’s Sun Bowl saw UCLA top Northwestern, 50-38.

UTEP set a school record for attendance in 2005, averaging 47,899 fans per game. The mark broke the previous record set in 2000, when UTEP averaged 44,715 fans per contest. The Miners were 5-0 at home in 2000, and were also undefeated (6-0) in the Sun Bowl in 1988. UTEP is 10-2 at home the last two seasons under coach Mike Price.

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