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UTEP to celebrate 50-year history of Sun Bowl
By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas --
The University of Texas, El Paso's iconic Sun Bowl Stadium is turning 50 years old this month.
School officials announced on Monday they will be celebrating the anniversary during UTEP's game against University of Texas, San Antonio, when they play at the Sun Bowl on Sept. 21.
The celebration will be a fifty-year anniversary to the day, as the Sun Bowl opened on Sept. 21, 1963.
"We will be bringing back the 1963 team," said UTEP athletics director Bob Stull. "We will also be honoring Larry Durham. He was the major donor here and he was the first guy to score a touchdown in the Sun Bowl."
Construction of the Sun Bowl first broke ground in 1961. At the time, the the original price tag was $275,000, which is just over $2 million in today's value.
The Sun Bowl originally had a capacity of around 30,000. Today, it holds almost 52,000.
The stadium has played host to some big name players, teams and marquee games over the years.
Don Maynard, Barry Sanders, Carson Palmer and Ladanian Tomlinson are just some of the players and coaches who have stepped foot in the stadium.
The first sellout for the Sun Bowl postseason game came in 1967 when UTEP defeated Mississippi, 14-7.
In 1974, a freak winter storm hit El Paso the night before the Sun Bowl game, leaving frost on the field. On game day, the sun's warmth caused steam to rise from the field, giving it an eerie look. The game was known as the "Fog Bowl" that year.
Stull feels being able to host the Sun Bowl in the stadium has been instrumental in its history, because it's one of the oldest bowl games in the nation.
"There's a tremendous amount of history there, and it continues to bring some big-name teams into the stadium that perhaps, we wouldn't bring in normally within our conference, so it's always been a great entertainment value," Stull said. "We are able to attract the USCs and Notre Dames, and those types of schools to our campus, and it gives our fans a little bit of a different look."