As a UTEP fan who enjoyed the Miners’ basketball success in the 1980s, I loved Hernell “Jeep” Jackson. The popular playmaker who wore the number 22 was known for his confidence, leadership and smile. He was also an excellent basketball player who was one of Don Haskins’ favorites. Tragically, Jeep passed away in May 1987 while preparing for the NBA Draft the following month. Next Friday, he will join four other former minors and the 2000 football team in the UTEP 2020 Athletics Hall of Fame class. The induction ceremony was postponed last year due to COVID and the university did not elect a Hall of Fame class for 2021. In addition to Jeep and the 2000 minors, former catcher Lee Mays, basketball player Holly Russ, tennis star Tanja “Mad Dog” Magoc, and football star Jami Tullius will be immortalized next Friday night.
When you take a close look at the 2020 class, every athlete was a star. Mays played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and he has a Super Bowl ring. Russ is the only minor to score 1,000 points in just two seasons, while Tullius is still the program’s all-time leading scorer. Magoc has competed in two NCAA tournaments and is the first tennis player to be inducted into the UTEP Hall.
The UTEP 2000 football team, coached by Gary North, was the WAC co-champion and they went on to play the Humanitarian Bowl against Boise State.
For the first time, UTEP is organizing the event at the Sun Bowl. For $ 50, fans will receive a dinner and a floor ticket to attend the festivities. There will also be a social activity starting at 6:30 p.m., before dinner and the ceremony at 7 a.m. For tickets, fans can purchase them online. The Hall of Fame class will also be in the spotlight during next Saturday night’s football game against La Tech. Fans who purchase a Hall of Fame ticket will also have the option to sit in Sections 8 or 9 for the Bulldogs football game for $ 16 (usually $ 20).