UTEP, El Paso Awarded Conference USA Basketball Tournament


POSTED: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 12:58pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 4:09pm

Conference USA athletics directors voted on Wednesday to hold the 2011 C-USA Basketball Championship at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.

The vote is contingent upon approval from the Board of Directors, who will meet in Dallas on June 7. Before it can be finalized, contractual terms have to be completed between Conference USA, UTEP and the city of El Paso to host the event.

“The group was very impressed by the quality and comprehensiveness, including the financial guarantee, in the El Paso proposal,” Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “We felt confident that we would have a great experience.”

“We are very pleased that the conference tournament is returning to El Paso,” UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull said. “This was a team effort and so many people worked very hard to make the dream a reality. I would especially like to thank [UTEP President] Dr. Diana Natalicio, Mayor John Cook, Bill Blaziek and Brooke Underwood from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, [UTEP Senior Associate Athletic Director] Brian Wickstrom, Brian Kennedy from the Sports Commission and the Sun Bowl Association for their efforts. Bill Blaziek made an outstanding presentation to the athletic directors today. This is a great opportunity for UTEP and the city of El Paso, and an exciting time for our fans. We are determined to host a first-class event.”

“This was just a collaborative effort with the university and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the presentation was very well-developed and well-received by the 12 athletics directors and the commissioner,” Blaziek said. “We got a strong sense that they were pleased following the presentation, and we were delighted to learn this morning that we earned the bid. It’s a celebration for sports fans in El Paso. It’s going to have a very strong economic impact for our community. as well as provide us with great media opportunities nationwide.”

“Along with the first round of the NCAA Tournament, my favorite time of the entire basketball season has always been conference tournament play,” UTEP men’s basketball coach Tim Floyd said. “We’re excited to be able to share this experience with our fans. I think what Conference USA is going to learn is that we have an extremely sophisticated fan base. They appreciate the players who work hard and know the ones who don’t. They have watched great basketball in this city for over 50 years and they love it. And Conference USA will also find out that the host committees associated with the Sun Bowl, who will have the charge of hospitality, will rise to the occasion. This will be a tremendous week for all who choose to come out and visit the great city of El Paso.”

“We are thrilled about the potential of hosting the Conference USA Tournament,” UTEP women’s basketball coach Keitha Adams said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the community to brings its passion for basketball to the league tournament. It is a great example of the commitment UTEP and the community have for basketball. I’d like to thank the UTEP administrators and all of those who worked to make this happen.”

The tournament schedule will be finalized at a later date.

UTEP has hosted the Western Athletic Conference men’s tournament three times previously -- in 1984, 1985 and 1990. The Miners reached the championship game of the tournament all three times and won the event in 1984 and 1990.

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