The much-loved basketball coach, known as “the Bear” for his grumpy nature, was famed for changing the face of collegiate basketball in 1966 when he started – for the first time in NCAA basketball championship history – five black players against an all-white, heavily-favored Kentucky team.He is survived by his wife, Mary; his sons Brent, David and Steve; and three grandsons. He was preceded in death by his son, Mark, who died in 1994.
A public memorial is tentatively planned for later in the week, with arrangements pending."It is a very sad time for all of us," UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull said in a university press release. "Don is an icon of El Paso. He has had a huge impact on the city and the University of Texas at El Paso.
“Since his retirement (in 1999), he has remained very interested in our entire athletic program and supportive of all of our coaches. He has been an invaluable resource to everybody in the athletic department,” Stull continued. “He remains one of the most revered and honored coaches in basketball history.”The story of Haskin’s decision to start five black players in the 1966 national championship game, is recounted in the 2006 Disney movie Glory Road.
Haskins was the head coach at UTEP from 1961-99, leading the Miners to 719 wins, as well as a national title (1966), 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and seven Western Athletic Conference championships. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 29, 1997.Learn more about Haskins here: