Old UTEP basketball films from Don Haskins' coaching tenure found

Old UTEP basketball game films to be restored

EL PASO, Texas - One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Hundreds of old UTEP basketball game films, used by the late Don Haskins, have finally found their way to the UTEP library's Special Collections Department. The games range from the 1960s to 1980s.

But they were almost gone forever after ending up in a dumpster outside the Don Haskins Center.

"They came to us very dirty," said Claudia Rivers, head of the UTEP library's Special Collections Department. "We estimate about 900 reels of film, 16 mm film. It doesn't have sound and it's all black and white."

Back in 1999, when Haskins retired, the new coach, Jason Rabedeaux, cleaned out his office and dumped all those films in a dumpster outside the Haskins center.

"I dumpster-dived and got everything I thought should not go away," said Fernie Mabini, technical supervisor at the Haskins center since the '70s. "I saw coach Haskins for over 30 years, almost every day so, he's kind of like a second father to me. I really loved him a lot."

And that's why Mabini saved the films and stored them on a shelf in a facility next to the Haskins center for the past 13 years before he recently turned them over to special collections.

"I don't like throwing things away you can't ever get back again," Mabini said.

"I think coach Haskins was pretty busy coaching the team and not worried about the historical side of things," said Jeff Darby, associate athletic director for media relations at UTEP. "Fortunately, we were able to preserve some fantastic moments in UTEP basketball history."

Darby said among the reels of film are games from the 1966 championship season, which inspired the Disney movie "Glory Road" and other big moments in Miner history.

"I was trying to find film of Jim Barnes where he had 56 points and 30 some rebounds. I actually did find it," Darby said.

Darby said the restoration process is now underway.

"We picked out some of the big rivalry games that have particular historical significance," Darby said. "A lot of those regular season games we would have had no record of . We'd like to eventually be able to convert this all and put it up on our web site."

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