Oldsters will remember this. And their children who are now adults should heed. Those who ate hot dogs with Don Haskins are the persons who bring their families to games thick and thin. In masse again, they can save UTEP football as they propelled basketball for so many seasons.
That hot dog-eating, anyway, is the lore. Haskins made a lot of life-long friends and fans by hanging with El Paso Guy. He did it going on 40 years - restaurants, anywhere he went.
The UTEP football program has not had El Paso Guy at games unless it was the beginning of a new season, or on the rare occassions - in this last half century - that the team was a winner into October. There have always been 15,000 to 20,000 loyalists, even at 1-10, but that doesn't fund an athletic program. And "corporate El Paso" is just ... well, there is not much real corporate El Paso. It's the people who want to rub shoulders with their coach who are the ones who can make their Miner teams winners. By being there in the stands - their ticket and concessions money. Be Chicago Cubs fans having fun.
Mike Price, who retired Monday after nine seasons, is, in himself, a real Haskins. But he was not the proverbial Haskins. Friendly, yes! But he mainly hung with Athletic Director Bob Stull's "little bit of corporate," i.e. the fat wallets in the little pond that is El Paso.
For UTEP football to succeed, it needs the roar that can be raised by hundreds of husbands, wives and children who adopt UTEP football, as they did Haskins' basketball. The Miners have to be their team, no matter what.
Call it this an opposite to "win and they will come." It has to be " Keep coming" to UTEP football games, because the only way the Miners will eventually have winning seasons is for the new coach to "eat hot dogs" with the children whose parent's ate hot dogs with Don Haskins.