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UTEP Miners and Lady Miners is the name given to the sports teams of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Informally, the UTEP Miners have also been referred to as the Miners, UTEP, or Texas–El Paso. UTEP was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1967 to 2005, when they joined Rice, Tulsa, and SMU in leaving the WAC for Conference USA. The UTEP Miners are best known as the only team in Texas to win a NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. UTEP's colors are orange and blue and the mascot is a miner named Paydirt Pete. The athletic director for the Miners is Bob Stull.
Playing their first game in 1914, the UTEP Miners football team currently compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The team plays its games in the Sun Bowl Stadium, and head coach Mike Price recently retired from his 9th and final season at UTEP in 2012. The winner of the UTEP vs. New Mexico State University football game receives a pair of traveling trophies; The Silver Spade and The Brass Spittoon. The first spade used for this purpose was an old prospector's shovel dug up from an abandoned mine in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1947. This was the symbol of victory, and the spade was given to the winner of the football game between the Miners and Aggies each year. The idea of the present Silver Spade was from UTEP student Don Henderson, the student association president and now a very successful El Paso businessman and former mayor of the city. In 1955 Henderson secured the present spade and each year the score of the game is engraved on the blade. Perhaps the idea behind the spade is the fact that at the time the prospector's spade was uncovered, both schools' major field of study had use for the tool, mining and metallurgy for the College of Mines and agriculture at then New Mexico A&M. The Brass Spittoon, officially known as the Mayor's Cup, came into existence in 1982 when the mayors of the two cities; Jonathan Rogers of El Paso, and David Steinberg of Las Cruces decided to present another traveling trophy to the winner of the UTEP vs New Mexico State University game.