UTEP shifting to Conference USA
El Paso, TX (Sports Network) – Texas-El Paso will leave the Western Athletic
Conference and become a member of Conference USA in July 2005.
The Miners will compete in 15 intercollegiate sports in their new conference,
including men’s basketball and football.
UTEP joins Rice, SMU and Tulsa as the latest WAC member to leave for
Conference USA. The Miners will be grouped in the league’s Western Division
with Houston, Rice, SMU, Tulane and Tulsa.
The Eastern Division of Conference USA will be composed of Central Florida,
East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Southern Miss and UAB beginning with the
2005-06 athletic year.
“UTEP is very pleased to have the opportunity to join its fellow WAC
institutions, SMU, Rice and Tulsa, as new members of Conference USA in 2005,”
said UTEP President Dr. Diana Natalicio. “We look forward to continuing to
compete in the Dallas and Houston areas, where there are large concentrations
of UTEP alumni who have enjoyed following our teams, and we look forward to
the new relationships that our Conference USA affiliation will afford us.”
The Miners have been affiliated with the Western Athletic Conference since
September 1967 and have won 20 national championships as WAC members, and 21
overall. UTEP has claimed 53 Western Athletic Conference team titles.
UTEP captured the 1966 national crown in men’s basketball, when the school was
known as Texas Western College. To this day, UTEP is the only school in the
state of Texas to have won a national championship in men’s basketball.
Conference USA will be the third league for UTEP, which was a member of the
now-disbanded Border Conference from 1935-62.