UTEP announces 2017 Athletics Hall of Fame

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UTEP announces 2017 Athletics Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy UTEP athletics

Photo courtesy UTEP athletics

Photo courtesy UTEP athletics

Photo courtesy UTEP athletics

Mike Flores, Sports Editor

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The 2017 UTEP Athletic Hall of Fame class features five former Miner athletes to round out the 15th induction class.

The inities into the Hall of Fame include Antonio Davis, Seth Joyner, Blessing Okagbare, Cynthia Ruelas-Macias and Paul Stankowski. They will be honored at the induction banquet on Friday, Oct. 27, at the Larry K. Durham Sports Center, and also on Oct. 28, at UTEP’s football game versus UTSA.

Davis was a forward for the UTEP basketball team from 1986-90. In his time with the Miners, Davis was a big part of a team that made it to four NCAA tournaments, which included two tournament wins over Arizona and LSU. Davis played in 122 games with the Miners, picked up 95 career wins, scored 1,117 career points, grabbed 744 rebounds, blocked 144 shots and shot 53.9 field goal percentage from the floor. The 6-foot-9 player was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference honoree.

After Davis’ time with the Miners, he spent 13 years in the NBA with Indiana, Toronto, Chicago and New York. In his NBA career, Davis competed in over 900 games, totaled 9,041 points, 6,755 rebounds and 899 blocks.

In 2001 as a member of the Raptors, Davis was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. That year he averaged a double-double of 13.7 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per contest. The following year, Davis participated for Team USA at the FIBA World Championships. He eventually retired as a Raptor in 2006.

Now, Davis is currently an NBA analyst with ESPN, and also a member of UTEP’s Basketball Centennial Team.

Joyner played football at UTEP from 1982-85 and was overlooked before he made his impact. When he first stepped foot on campus, Joyner was an undersized walk-on that blew through expectations with hours in the gym and hitting the weight room. He turned into a college football star and eventually one of the NFL’s top linebackers.

With the Miners, Joyner recorded 325 tackles before being picked in the eighth round of the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent eight of his 13 NFL seasons at. During Joyner’s time with the Eagles, he was a three-time Pro Bowler (1991, 1993, 1994) and was named Sports Illustrated NFL Player of the Year in 1991. After Philadelphia, Joyner played for Arizona, Green Bay and Denver, where he was part of the Broncos’ 1998 Super Bowl run in his last year as a pro. Joyner had 52 career sacks and 24 interceptions in 195 NFL games. He is a member of UTEP’s Football Centennial Team.

Okagbare was a member of UTEP’s track and field team. She was one of the three finalists for the The Bowerman Award during her senior year with the Miners, which is the highest honor given to collegiate track and field student-athletes by the USTFCCCA. She was the first collegiate athlete ever to earn NCAA crowns in the 100-meter and long jump during the 2010 outdoor season. Also in the 2010 indoor season, Okagbare won two national titles (60-meters, long jump) where she set a meet record in the latter event.

Okagbare ended her career with UTEP as an 11-time All-American and 15-time conference champion. She was a silver medalist in the long jump at the 2008 Olympic Games, and also a silver medalist and bronze medalist in the 200-meter at the 2013 World Championships. Okagbare won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, the All-Africa Games, the African Championships and the IAAF World Relays.

Ruelas-Macias is the initial inductee from the volleyball program into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame. She is known as one of the best middle blockers to ever come across the UTEP volleyball program. Ruelas-Macias’ UTEP career consisted of 1,181 kills (fifth in school history) and 636 blocks (first in school history). She ranked in the top five nationally in single season blocks in 1997 (fourth) and in 1994 (fifth), and ranked in top-10 in 1993 (ninth) and also in the 1996 season (10th). Ruelas-Macias has the fourth highest hitting percentage (.251). The standout left UTEP with 17 separate school records.

Stankowski is the first UTEP men’s golf athlete to be inducted into the UTEP Hall of Fame. His work for the Miners was from 1987-91, where he won two tournaments during the 1990 season (Red River Classic and the WAC Championships). He is the only male golfer in UTEP history to win the individual WAC title. In 1988, 1989 and 1991, Stankowski was a three-time honorable mention All-American with the Miners. During the NCAA Championships in 1988, Stankowski guided UTEP to finish second. Three years later, in 1991, Stankowski helped UTEP notch the ninth spot in the 1991 NCAA Championships. He played on the Nationwide Tour and the PGA Tour, winning the 1996 Nike Louisiana Open, the 1996 BellSouth Classic and the 1997 United Airlines Hawaiian Open. His best finish in a major was a tie for fifth place at the 1997 Masters Tournament.

Since 2002, UTEP has been inducting classes into the Athletics Hall of Fame. The only exception came in 2014 when the football, men’s and women’s basketball centennial teams were honored.

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