EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Every year since 1981, Jon Teicher has stood in a booth high above Sun Bowl Stadium and called UTEP football games on the radio.
He moved to El Paso one year prior to call El Paso Diablos baseball games and on Saturday when the Miners host North Texas in front of what is expected to be the first sellout crowd since 2008 against Texas, Teicher will celebrate a return to the microphone that was in question a few months ago.
His 42 years calling UTEP sporting events are something Teicher is very proud of. He’s been in the building for a slough of incredible Miner wins. The men’s basketball team’s run to the 1992 Sweet 16 and the 1985 football win over defending national champion BYU rank amongst his favorites.
But Teicher’s new favorite moment on the mic might come on Saturday at the Sun Bowl when UTEP hosts North Texas. It’s a moment that wasn’t promised four months ago, during a routine moment in Teicher’s life
“I noticed a lump on the left side of my neck while I was shaving and I didn’t think much about it initially,” he said.
A trip to the doctor soon confirmed everyone’s worst fear. Teicher was diagnosed with lymph node cancer. It was a terrifying phone call in the car with his entire family listening, but also a very fortunate diagnosis.
“My first question was, ‘Has it spread?’ That was my first concern,” Teicher said. “Fortunately through all the testing that was done, it hadn’t.”
Cancer treatment took over Teicher’s life the next few months. He and his wife Pam moved to Houston for the summer as he underwent seven hours of surgery at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to remove the cancerous lymph node.
After that, it was six weeks of radiation, five days a week to make sure it wouldn’t return. Through it all, Teicher had one simple goal.
“As soon as I met with my surgeon, I said, ‘my target date is Aug 27. I want to be back in my perch calling UTEP games at the Sun Bowl,'” Teicher said. “She looked at me and smiled and said, ‘I think we can do that.'”
On Aug. 5, Teicher rang the bell at the hospital, signaling that he was cancer-free. His taste buds will still need some time to recover and the radiation took its took on the outside of his neck, but otherwise, Teicher is in fairly good health.
One week after his treatment ended, Teicher returned to UTEP football practice, which he says, “felt like home.”
Added Miners head coach Dana Dimel, “The thing I appreciate about Jon is how much he cares about our program and how supportive he is. He’s a great colleague of mine.”
Teicher lost both of his parents to cancer and his wife beat it over a decade ago. Adding to that, the UTEP football program honors former player Luke Laufenberg every day, after he lost his life to cancer in 2019. Dimel said his brother and sister have both died from the disease since he arrived in El Paso in late 2017.
So, it’s with perspective that Teicher will be back where he belongs on Saturday, alongside over 45,000 of his closest friends at the Sun Bowl, calling the Miners’ season opener vs. North Texas.
“Cancer has touched almost all of us in one form or another. Fortunately, I’ve come out well on the other side and that’s enough for me to celebrate,” Teicher said.
Teicher will begin his 42nd season as the Voice of the UTEP Miners at 7 p.m. Saturday night as the Miners battle UNT. Teicher’s call of the action during each and every UTEP football and men’s basketball game in 2022-23 can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso.