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Fan club president to be inducted to EP’s Hall of Fame

Luis Barrio
Miner Fan Club President, Larry Rodriguez, will be inducted in the El Paso Hall of fame on April 30.

To be chosen is an honor for the work that I’ve done—things we’ve done for UTEP.

— Larry Rodriguez

Hall of famers can come in many forms, shapes and sizes. It isn’t just for the tall and athletic, or just for the coaches.

Larry Rodriguez stands at 5 feet, 6 inches tall, but don’t let his size fool you. He became an Army officer after graduating from UTEP. As a “hawk officer” he was part of an air defense system designed for the purpose of shooting down enemy aircraft.

Rodriguez came to UTEP after spending his first two years at New Mexico Military Institute. He graduated in 1977 and was an officer in the U.S. Army for eight years, three in Germany, and he then finished his military career at Fort Bliss.

Now a contractor for Fort Bliss, Rodriguez lives a simple life, where he works and organizes a consistent UTEP fan base. Now, he will be inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame at their banquet, which will be held April 30 at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

“It’s quite an honor. To be chosen is an honor for the work that I’ve done—things we’ve done for UTEP,” Rodriguez said. “I appreciate that the members thought that much of me and the committee felt that much of me to let me into the hall of fame.”

Before Rodriguez got involved, the UTEP Miner Fan Club was one large organization that was broken into four different El Paso regions: the Westside, Eastside, Northeast and South Central.

UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull created the fan club in 1999. With the lack of a large number of participants in each sector, Stull combined the regions into one organization.

When the four regions of the fan club merged, it needed a president, someone who was committed to UTEP and the fan club.

“I was the one that took charge and wanted to be responsible. It takes time. Everyone has volunteer work, it takes somebody that’s got time,” Rodriguez said. “I volunteer to keep the club going. Someone had to be responsible or the club would fall apart or there wouldn’t be one.”

As president of the Miners Fan Club, Rodriguez is in charge of out-of-town trips. He tries to have meetings once a week for the fan club to know what the athletes are doing and get to know them. They have tailgates for every home football game.

“I enjoy doing it together with friends. As long as we keep getting people to participate, I’ll be doing this. It is fun,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and the fan club reach out and help with all the athletic programs. Just last week, the fan club hosted a cookout for the softball team when they played against Middle Tennessee State.

“(It’s) the only university here in town and what represents the city of El Paso,” Rodriguez said. “To help the athletes, to be helping the university anyway I can, whether it be ticket sales, or supporting the fan club with fundraisers is great.”

To be inducted into the hall of fame, nominated members must do a presentation and show why they should be inducted into the hall of fame. The members then vote on the nominees.

Rodriguez was nominated in 2013, but missed the final cut. For his nomination in 2013, retired football coach Mike Price wrote, “Larry Rodriguez is the ultimate Miner fan…He has given great support to several generations of UTEP players and coaches.”

Now in 2014, he will be inducted.

Rodriguez said he is proud that the fan club traveled to Austin with 20 members when the football team played against the Longhorns in 2009. Rodriguez was also there with fan club members when the UTEP men’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament in 2004, 2005 and 2010.

“We sign people to go on trips with us when the Miners are out of town,” Rodriguez said.

When the UTEP women’s basketball team returned from Memphis as 2012 Conference USA Champions, Rodriguez was at the airport to greet and welcome the champions back.

In his letter of recommendation Stull wrote, “Larry is a great person and a great Miner. He pours his heart and soul into UTEP athletics. He constantly bends over backwards to accommodate us. We are fortunate to have him as a fan and supporter.”

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Luis Barrio
Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter
Luis Barrio is a staff reporter specializing in Sports. He is also the co-host of the Prospector News Weekly, a weekly broadcast that covers all of the top stories at UTEP. He is a Senior graduating in December 2014. Luis is a product of El Paso, TX. He enjoys being outdoors and being physically active. His family comes before anything else. He is a big sports enthusiast and a fan of good movies. Luis spent the summer of 2013 interning for ABC-7 KVIA. Upon graduation Luis aspires to work for CBS as a sports broadcaster. “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever a having felt sorry for itself.” D.H. Lawrence
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Fan club president to be inducted to EP’s Hall of Fame