Public Funeral Plans Announced for Miner Legend Willie Cager
UTEP announced the final plans for what is being called a "Celebration of Life for Texas Western College Basketball Legend Willie Cager."
It will happen Friday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center. It's not where he played his college basketball under the great Don Haskins, but he sure spent a lot of time there supporting UTEP men's and women's basketball over the years.
The event is free and open to the public because the family wants everyone and anyone who wants to pay their respects to be able to attend.
Cager's family, friends and teammates will share their recollections of a life well lived at the event.
Cager died on March 19, 2023 - which also happened to be the 57th anniversary of Texas Western College's improbable and historic national championship win over powerhouse Kentucky in 1966.
Cager, nicknamed "Scoops," appeared in 77 games for the Miners from 1964-68. He averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds over the course of his career.
Cager also made an impact in that 1966 national championship win over Kentucky. He scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the 72-65 win, which cemented Don Haskins' legacy. The win made history as Haskins and the Miners became the first team to start five black players in the championship game. It also inspired the movie Glory Road (a must-watch, especially if you're an El Pasoan and somehow haven't seen it).
He was originally the Bronx in New York City, but he stayed and made El Paso his home. If you ever went to a UTEP men's or women's basketball game, there was a good chance you saw him sitting in his spot on the baseline. He was always welcoming when it came to taking pictures with his 1966 national championship ring.
Cager was 81 years old, but his legacy will live on forever.