Don Haskins Center

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Don Haskins Center
"The Don"
Don Haskins Center UTEP Interior.jpg
The interior of the Don Haskins Center as it appeared on March 10, 2011
Former namesSpecial Events Center (1977–1998)
Location500 West University Avenue
El Paso, Texas 79968
Coordinates31°46′39″N 106°30′21″W / 31.777608°N 106.505718°W / 31.777608; -106.505718Coordinates: 31°46′39″N 106°30′21″W / 31.777608°N 106.505718°W / 31.777608; -106.505718
OwnerUniversity of Texas at El Paso
OperatorUniversity of Texas at El Paso
Capacity11,892 (Basketball)[1]
12,567 (concerts)
Broke groundJanuary 13, 1975[2]
OpenedFebruary 3, 1977[5]
Construction cost$10 million[3]
($42.2 million in 2019 dollars[4])
ArchitectB. W. Crane Architects[5]
Structural engineerWalter P Moore[6]
General contractorJordan Nobles Construction[7]
UTEP Miners (1977–present)

The Don Haskins Center, formerly known as the Special Events Center, is the home of UTEP Miners men's and women's basketball. The venue is located in the heart of El Paso, Texas. In addition to hosting sporting events, the Don Haskins Center is also used by many area schools, such as El Paso Community College, for graduation and commencement ceremonies.[8] Due to its large seating capacity, the center is also the city's premier entertainment venue and has hosted big-name acts such as pop star Shakira's Tour of the Mongoose, Oral Fixation Tour and The Sun Comes Out World Tour, Britney Spears during her Circus Tour,[9] comedian George Lopez and rock band KISS.[10]


Built in 1977, as the Special Events Center, the venue replaced Memorial Gym.[11] The Special Events Center was renamed after UTEP's Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins (1930–2008) in 1998. Haskins, who is best known for starting five African-American players in the 1966 NCAA Championship game against Kentucky,[12] was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997 and retired from the university in 1999. The arena was the site of a milestone win during the 1997–1998 season, as coach Haskins notched his 700th career victory against SMU.[13] The arena was also the site of the 1984, 1985, and 1990 Western Athletic Conference men's basketball tournaments and the 2011 and 2014 Conference USA tournaments. It also hosted NCAA Men's Basketball tournament first- and second-round games in 1981. In September 2008 Don Haskins lay in state there for several days after dying of natural causes.[14]

The Haskins Center features a Robbins Bio-Channel Star maple floor, installed in the summer of 2002, as well as two modern locker rooms, training facilities and basketball coaches' offices. The game-day environment for basketball was enhanced in recent years with the addition of four new scoreboards and two video replay boards to the arena. The arena now has a total of seven electronic scoreboards.

While it had originally been built as an alternative to the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which at the time was the larger of the two arenas, today the Haskins Center is the dominant concert venue in the area. The Pan American Center was renovated in 2006 and has since been used as an alternative venue due to similar concert capacity.[15] It is also the regional stop for WWE when it visits the El Paso area.[16]

UTEP Basketball[edit]

The Miner men's basketball team has posted a 476–140 (.773) record in 34 years at the arena. UTEP won 25 straight home games from January 23, 1987 to December 16, 1989. The Miners have posted undefeated home records in three seasons: 1983–1984 (21–0), 1985–1986 (19–0) and 1988–1989 (18–0). They also won the first 10 conference games they played there after joining Conference USA in 2005. UTEP has defeated many top-10 ranked teams in the Don Haskins Center over the years, including #10 Arizona (1977), #5 Georgetown (1985), #5 Wyoming (1988) and #9 Utah (1993), among others.[13]

UTEP has attracted 5,592,257 fans in 34 seasons at the arena. The 11,892-seat arena (formerly 12,222 due to the late El Paso Sports legend Paul Strelzin) has been sold out for UTEP basketball games 112 times.[13]

Fans enter the Don Haskins Center early before a UTEP Men's basketball game.


Shakira currently holds the record of having the most shows in the arena as a female artist, with 6 in total:

  • She performed in the arena for the very first time with Tour of the Mongoose on November 15 and 16, 2002. She returned to the arena in February 25, 2003 for another sold-out show, becoming the female artist with most shows in the venue with one single tour.
  • She kicked off her North American leg of Oral Fixation Tour in the venue on August 9, 2006.
  • She brought The Sun Comes Out World Tour to El Paso on October 13, 2010. Later on, she added a second show on October 12, 2010, after the first show was completely sold out.

Depeche Mode were scheduled to perform during their Touring the Angel Tour on May 2, 2006, with She Wants Revenge as their opening act, but the show was cancelled, due to scheduling issues.[17]

New Kids on the Block were scheduled to perform during their Full Service Reunion Tour on July 13, 2009, but the show was cancelled.

The Cure played a memorable gig on May 17, 2016 for about three hours with 5 encores and 5 songs they hadn't played for at least nine years including "The Perfect Girl" which hadn't been played since 1990.[citation needed]

Don Haskins Center north entrance

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UTEP's WNIT game for tonight has sold out". KVIA.Com. Apr 1, 2014. Retrieved 2 Apr 2014.
  2. ^ "Special Events Center Construction Begins". El Paso Herald-Post. January 14, 1975. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Molinar–Muñoz, Jessica (November 16, 2013). "Day 46: The Don Haskins Center". University of Texas at El Paso. Archived from the original on May 10, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Special Events Center Open At Last". The Prospector. University of Texas at El Paso. February 1, 1977. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "Arenas". Walter P Moore. Archived from the original on July 8, 2000. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  7. ^ "Heritage". Jordan Foster Construction. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Venues at UTEP". University of Texas at El Paso. Archived from the original on May 10, 2009. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  9. ^ Swann, Ben (June 10, 2009). "Britney Spears Coming To Don Haskins' Center". KTSM. El Paso. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  10. ^ Soto, Stephanie (January 5, 2010). "Legendary Rockers Invade the Sun City". The Prospector. University of Texas at El Paso. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  11. ^ Kaplowitz, Steve. "12,222: Busting the Attendance Myth of the Don Haskins Center". 600 ESPN El Paso. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  12. ^ "Basketball Pioneer Haskins Dies". National Collegiate Athletic Association. September 8, 2008. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "The Don Haskins Center". UTEP Athletics. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Sanchez, Stephanie (September 9, 2008). "El Pasoans Visit Don Haskins Center as Coach Lies in State". El Paso Times. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  15. ^ "Technical Information | Pan American Center | Special Events | New Mexico State University". New Mexico State University. Archived from the original on 2018-07-09. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  16. ^ Dominguez, Noah (2017-10-02). "10 Live Observations From WWE EL Paso". Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  17. ^ Martinez, Leonard (July 6, 2006). "Catch Depeche Mode Live on CD". El Paso Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014.

External links[edit]