PHILADELPHIA – Many young men across the country saw their dreams come true as their names were announced at the 2017 NFL Draft held in Philadelphia, April 28-30, including 17 former college student-athletes who played in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
As many in the El Paso community are aware, the first round featured three players getting selected by their new NFL teams who played in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. The Chicago Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky, former North Carolina quarterback, as the No. 2 overall pick. Stanford’s star defensive lineman, Solomon Thomas, was selected as the No. 3 pick overall by the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Hurricanes former tight end David Njoku was chosen at No. 29 overall by the Cleveland Browns.
What some might not be aware of are the other 14 players who saw action in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. Those NFL draftees include three defensive players from UCLA, which faced Virginia Tech on Dec. 31, 2013 with the Bruins winning 42-12. The third round picks from UCLA are cornerback Fabian Moreau, who went to the Washington Redskins and Eddie Vanderdoes, who was chosen by the Oakland Raiders. Nazair Jones from North Carolina, who was picked by the Seattle Seahawks, also went in the third round.
Jones was the 2016 Jimmy Rogers Jr. Most Valuable lineman after recording five solo tackles, three assisted tackles, one sack for a loss of seven yards and two tackles for a loss of 14 yards as the Tar Heels dropped an exciting Hyundai Sun Bowl, 25-23.
“Our bowl game continues to bring in some of the best talent from across the nation,” said Hyundai Sun Bowl Executive Director Bernie Olivas.
During the 2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Mitch Trubisky completed 23-of-39 pass attempts for 280 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Trubisky set UNC single-season records for touchdown passes (30) and total offense (4,056 yards) in 2016. Trubisky finished the season with just six interceptions, but all six came in UNC losses.
Stanford’s defensive lineman and Texas product Solomon Thomas preserved the victory. Saving his best for last, he sacked Tar Heel quarterback Mitch Trubisky on a two-point conversion attempt with 25 seconds left. Thomas finished with seven tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss, and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Njoku played for the Miami Hurricanes and participated in the 2015 Hyundai Sun Bowl, making one catch during the 20-14 loss to the Washington State Cougars. At 6’4” 246lbs, Njoku has great size for the position as he moves to the next level. Couple that with explosive athleticism, and it’s easy to see why teams had him rated highly, and why the Browns ended up taking him in the first round.
Former Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya was taken in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions. Kaaya threw for 219 yards on 17-of-31 passing while throwing one touchdown pass during the 20-14 loss to the Washington State Cougars during the 2015 Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Mark your calendars to watch future NFL players in the 2017 Hyundai Sun Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.
Players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft who also played in the Hyundai Sun Bowl:
(Players listed by round. Included is the player’s name, position, college attended and NFL team)
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina, CHICAGO BEARS
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford, SAN FRANSICO 49ERS
David Njoku, TE, Miami, CLEVELAND BROWNS
Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA, WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA, OAKLAND RAIDERS
Nazair Jones, DL, UCLA, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Rayshawn Jenkins, S, Miami, LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina, DALLAS COWBOYS
Corn Elder, CB, Miami, CAROLINA PANTHERS
Jayon Brown, LB, UCLA, TENNESSEE TITANS
T.J. Logan, RB, North Carolina, ARIZONA CARDINALS
Chuck Clark, DB, Virginia Tech, BALTIMORE RAVENS
Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE, Miami, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami, DETROIT LIONS
Stacy Coley, WR, Miami, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Shalom Luani, S, Washington State, OAKLAND RAIDERS
Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina, OAKLAND RAIDERS
EL PASO, Texas – The Sun Bowl Association and Executive Director Bernie Olivas announced on Friday, April 28 that Bill Coon is its 84th President for the 2017-18 year.
As president, Coon will be the spokesman for the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, as well as the general supervisor of the various association committees and activities.
“Bill’s vast experience with not-for-profit organizations is a huge benefit for the Sun Bowl Association,” Olivas said. “His knowledge and enthusiasm for all Sun Bowl events makes him a great fit to lead our Board of Directors. We are all looking forward to a great year with Bill at the helm.”
Coon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of EL Paso. He oversees the Y’s overall mission to nurture youth development, promote healthy living and foster social responsibility. Coon has over 20 years of experience working for the YMCA, serving as the Executive Director for multiple YMCA facilities in El Paso. He has served as Chief Professional Officer for the Boys & Girls Club of America as well as the Vice President of Goodwill El Paso.
Coon will oversee the Association’s continued commitment to El Paso through various events, including the 84th Hyundai Sun Bowl on December 29, 2017. The Sun Bowl Association takes the lead to put on a variety of community events, college and youth sports programs, including the Academy Sports + Outdoors Sun Bowl International Soccer Tournament, the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic and the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
Coon has been heavily involved with the Sun Bowl Association since 2010-11 serving on the Board of Advisors and soon after was selected to join the Sun Bowl Association Board of Directors. In 2014 he was selected as the Vice President of Volunteers managing the Fan Fiesta. He was also the 5K Chairman when the event was active. Coon has also been in charge of overseeing the First Light Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade’s equestrian unit’s safety and coordinating the overall set-up and break-down on game day of the Sun Bowl.
Coon has also assisted in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Sun Bowl International Soccer Tournament for three years as the Field Marshall Coordinator, supervising volunteer teams toward successful trash pick-up. He was elected the Executive Vice-President of the Sun Bowl Association in 2015 and designated as President-Elect in 2016.
“It is an honor to serve along with some of El Paso greatest volunteers and staff. Being President of the second oldest bowl game is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Coon. “The Sun Bowl is responsible for the city’s largest event, our parade. We bring world-class talent to El Paso through our golf tournament, basketball tournament and of course the football game. We recognize our local talent through Punt, Pass and Kick, the soccer tournament, our Sun Court, cheerleading clinics and basketball clinics. What a great organization to be part of.”
Coon and his wife, Janette, have been married for 20 years and have an 18-year-old son, Jacob and a 33-year old daughter Jacqie Bustamante.
Joining the 84th president of the association on the Board of Directors are Scott Mann (President-Elect), Stuart Silva (Executive Vice President), Steve Beltran (Immediate Past President), Jimmy Rogers, Jr. (Chair Emeritus), Natalia Flores (Secretary), John Aranda (Treasurer), Bryan Crowe (VP Community Relations), Robert Dunlop (VP Marketing), Scott Mann (VP Legal Affairs), Wayne Thornton (VP Public Relations), Tamara Gladkowski (VP Volunteers), Barry Kobren (Basketball Chairman), Asher Feinberg (CBS Host Chairman), Linda Smith (Coronation Chair), John Folmer (Football Chairman), Mark Pelletier (Golf Chairman), Jim Lawrence (Parade Chairman), Art Muñoz (VP Special Events), Allen Rystad (Provisions Chairman), Ernest Eisenberg (Board Member), Travis Hughes (Board Member), Michelle Kaip (Board Member), Richard Limas (Board Member), Michael Guerra (Board Member), Mary Kipp (Board Member), Victor Rueda (Board Member), Victor Salazar (Board Member), James O. Stewart III (Board Member) and Tony Valtier (Board Member).
The 2017 Sun Bowl Association Board of Advisors is made up of past presidents Amen Ayoub, Frank Bates, Walker Crowson, Linda East, Chris Mott, Marilyn Munden, Joe Valenzuela, along with members Joana Alferez, Joseph Bocanegra, Ruben Batista, Gil Blancas, Casandra Davisson, Richard Dayoub, Greg DiDonna, Celia Dubrule, Veronica Escobar, David Forti, Frank Hernandez, Brian Kennedy, Tommy Lewis, David Lindhuber, David Morales, Leila Melendez, Cindy Ramos Davidson, Terri Rangel, Jimmy Rogers III, Mike Rogers, Jeff Stevens, Bob Stull, Eric Swanson, Brad Taylor, Brooke Underwood, Pat Valdez-Rios, Charles Vass, Mario Vega and Rebekah Wierson.
AUGUSTA, Ga. – The 2017 Masters field is now set and there are 23 players on this year’s list that have made their way through El Paso. The 2017 Masters is set for April 6-9 at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia.
Phil Mickelson, Mark O’Meara, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are all lifetime players at the Masters after winning the event in the past. Mickelson won in 2004, 2006 and 2010, O’Meara in 1998, Spieth in 2015 and Woods in 1997 and 2005.
These four players, along with those listed below, gave the City of El Paso some great memories playing in the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic.
“The golf tournament the Sun Bowl Association puts on with Western Refining has been one of the best events we put on,” Sun Bowl Executive Director Bernie Olivas said. “El Pasoans have an opportunity to see future pro golfers play here. The amount of players in the Masters this year shows the great history of the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic.”
Mickelson played in El Paso in 1989 when he was with Arizona State while O’Meara participated in the third College All-America Golf Classic in 1976. Spieth took to the El Paso Country Club Course in 2011 and Woods won the All-America Golf Classic in 1995.
Spieth has played Augusta three times and never finished worse than second. With the way he has been striking the ball so far in 2017, he’s one of the favorites this week.
Dustin Johnson, who is currently ranked as the No. 1 golfer in the world, played in the 2005 and 2006 Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classics.
Here’s a look at the 23 players who qualified for the Masters and played in the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic (and how they earned their invites. (Note: listed is the school each player was with during the year they played in the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic):
CATEGORY 1: Masters Tournament champions (Lifetime)
• Phil Mickelson (Arizona State – 1989)
• Mark O’Meara (Long Beach State – 1976)
• Jordan Spieth (Texas – 2011)
Tiger Woods (Stanford – 1995), who qualified under Category 1, has withdrawn from the tournament.
CATEGORY 2: U.S. Open champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
• Dustin Johnson (Coastal Carolina – 2005 & 2006)
• Webb Simpson (Wake Forest – 2005 & 2007)
CATEGORY 3: British Open champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
CATEGORY 4: PGA Championship champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
• Jason Dufner (Auburn – 1997)
CATEGORY 5: Winners of The Players Championship (Three years)
• Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State – 1998)
CATEGORY 6: Current Olympic Gold medalist (One year)
CATEGORY 7: Current U.S. Amateur champion and runner-up (Honorary, non-competing after one year)
CATEGORY 8: Current British Amateur champion (Honorary, non-competing after one year)
CATEGORY 9: Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion
CATEGORY 10: Current Latin America Amateur champion
CATEGORY 11: Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
CATEGORY 12: The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Masters Tournament
• Paul Casey (Arizona State – 1998)
• J.B. Holmes (Kentucky – 2002)
• Brandt Snedeker (Vanderbilt – 2002)
CATEGORY 13: The first four players, including ties, in the previous year’s U.S. Open
• Jim Furyk (Arizona – 1990)
CATEGORY 14: The first four players, including ties, in the previous year’s British Open
CATEGORY 15: The first four players, including ties, in the previous year’s PGA Championship
• Daniel Summerhays (BYU – 2006)
CATEGORY 16: Individual winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship, from previous Masters to current Masters
• Russell Henley (Georgia – 2008, 2009, 2010)
• Russell Knox (Jacksonville – 2006)
• Ryan Moore (UNLV – 2002 & 2003)
• Justin Thomas (Alabama – 2012)
CATEGORY 17: Those qualifying for the previous year’s season-ending Tour Championship
• Kevin Chappell (UCLA – 2007)
• Kevin Kisner (Georgia – 2004)
• Matt Kuchar (Georgia Tech – 1999)
CATEGORY 18: The 50 leaders on the final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
• Bill Haas (Wake Forest – 2001)
• Alex Noren (Oklahoma State – 2004)
• Thomas Pieters (Illinois – 2012)
CATEGORY 19: The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament
Masters Tournament Central: http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/masters-tournament.html
EL PASO, Texas – The 2017 NCAA Sweet 16 begins Thursday, March 23 with six programs that have played in the Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational in the past.
Purdue, Michigan, Arizona, Baylor, Florida and South Carolina are set to play this weekend with hopes to advance to the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Big Dance continues on March 23 with the first games from the Midwest Region bracket. No. 4 seed Purdue takes on No. 1 seed Kansas State. In 1984, Purdue challenged UTEP in the Championship Game of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational becoming the 24th Champion of the annual Sun City tournament.
Purdue hoping to secure a spot in the Final Four, advanced to the Sweet 16 after defeating Vermont, 80-70 and Iowa State, 80-76.
Michigan is the No. 7 seed out of the Midwest Region bracket and will square up against No. 2 seed Oregon. Michigan is advancing after it was victorious over Oklahoma State, 92-91 and Louisville, 73-69. Michigan traveled to El Paso back in 1978 and 1983 to compete in WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
Out of the West Region, No. 2 seeded Arizona is set for a showdown with No. 11 seeded Xavier. Arizona is proceeding to the Sweet 16 after a 100-82 win against North Dakota in the first round and a 69-60 victory against St. Mary’s California. Xavier pulled of the upset over No. 3 Florida State in the second round.
“It’s always really interesting to look back and see all the great programs that have come through El Paso,” said Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Association, Bernie Olivas.
In the East Region of the bracket, No. 3 seeded Baylor takes on South Carolina on Friday, March 24. Baylor played in the 1961, 1963 and 1967 WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational and South Carolina played in the 1989 Sun Bowl tournament. Baylor advanced to the Sweet 16 by eliminating New Mexico State 91-73 in the first round of the NCAA tournament and USC 82-78 in the second round.
South Carolina, who played in the 1989 WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, has found itself in the Sweet 16 by beating Marquette 93-73 in round one and upsetting Duke 88-81 in the second round. South Carolina became the 29th WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Champion after battling it out with Kansas State 62-60 in overtime.
Florida is the No. 4 seed out of the East Region in the bracket and faces Wisconsin on March 24. Defeating East Tennessee State 80-65 in round one and Virginia 65-39 in round two, the Gators are hoping to stay hot when they take on the Badgers. Florida made one appearance in WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational in 1992.
Now in its 56th year, the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational is the oldest collegiate holiday basketball tournament in the country. The tournament is held annually at UTEP’s Don Haskins Center.
The 2017 edition is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 21 and Friday, Dec. 22. Teams have yet to be announced.
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.