EL PASO, Texas – The Sun Bowl Association announced on Tuesday, March 7 the extension of its partnership with WestStar Bank as the title sponsor for the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational through 2019. WestStar Bank originally signed on as the title sponsor in 2009.
“The Sun Bowl Association has built a family of successful and popular events and we’re excited to continue as the title sponsor of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational,” said L. Frederick “Rick” Francis, WestStar Bank Chairman and CEO. “We’re committed to being associated with many of El Paso’s traditions that have become a part of the fabric of our region. For many, this tournament is that – a holiday tradition – and we’re happy to be able to connect with our local community in this way.”
WestStar Bank and its employees are very involved with and in the community. Employees of WestStar Bank serve on over 95 boards and committees of nonprofit and civic organizations.
“We cannot produce events like the basketball tournament, which has been running since 1961, without great sponsors like WestStar Bank,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “We are extremely grateful for WestStar Bank and everything they have done for the Sun Bowl Association and the City of El Paso. Tournament Chairman Barry Kobren does an amazing job putting everything together and every team that visits El Paso leaves with great memories.”
The WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational is the nation’s oldest collegiate holiday basketball tournament. This year marks the 56th edition of the event that began in 1961, when legendary head coach Don Haskins was in his first year as the head coach at UTEP, then known as Texas Western.
Haskins amassed 719 career wins as the head coach of the Miners for 38 seasons. He led the Miners to the 1966 NCAA title, won seven Western Athletic Conference championships, four WAC tournament titles, had fourteen NCAA tournament berths and made seven trips to the NIT. Haskins engineered 17 20-plus win seasons and served as an assistant Olympic team coach in 1972. He led the Miners to 23 tournament titles in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
Haskins was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997 as a basketball coach. The 1966 team was named in its entirety to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.