Four Added to UTEP Hall of Fame

Monday, June 13, 2011 - 6:11pm

Obadele Thompson, Jack Curtice, Soma Dutta, Jim Forbes and Thad Steele will be inducted as the tenth class of the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame this upcoming fall.

Four sports are represented in the class of 2011 as a female rifle athlete, a men’s basketball player, a men’s track star, a football player and a football head coach have been chosen to join a selective group of Miner alums.

Dutta transferred to UTEP from Texas Lutheran to become only the second female to win a NCAA championship in the rifle smallbore. The Bangladesh, India, native was a three-time All-American for the Miners during the 1990, 1991 and 1992 seasons and held the school record with a 1,171 score for eight years. Following her successful career with the Orange and Blue, Dutta represented India in the Olympic games in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996. She became the first Indian woman to win a medal taking silver in the smallbore and bronze in the air rifle at the 1986 Seoul Asiad Games.

Thompson was a four-time NCAA champion during his four-year career with the track and field team. The Barbados native added his name to the illustrious list of track and field NCAA champions when he was crowned the 200-meter champion at the 1996 indoor championships leading UTEP to a fifth-place team finish. Thompson had a knack for performing at the highest level in the big stage setting a new personal best and school record of 20.36 to win his first national title. He won back-to-back 200-meter dash indoor titles when he returned to the national meet in 1997 defending his championship with a time of 20.67 leading the Miners once again to a fifth-place team finish, the last top-five recorded in 25 years. Named an All-American 11 timed during his career, Thompson doubled his NCAA title total at the 1997 NCAA outdoor championships sweeping the 100- and 200-meter dashes. His two titles elevated the Miners to a seventh-place finish. He was a 16-time WAC Champion setting three conference records throughout his collegiate career, three of which still stand.

Thompson was a 1997 GTE Academic All-District VI and graduated with honors with a business degree. In 1996, Thompson posted the fastest time ever recorded in the 100m, a wind-aided 9.69 that was matched by Usain Bolt in 2008. Thompson followed an elite list of UTEP track and field greats becoming just the 11th Miner to win an Olympic medal taking bronze in the 100m at the 2000 Olympics.

A two-time All-WAC second team selection, Forbes recorded 20 double-doubles in 61 games played in his career. He ranks sixth in the all-time career rebounding list with 553 rebounds and is also sixth in rebounds in a season tallying 290 as a sophomore during the 1971-72 season. Forbes averaged 10.74 rebounds in 27 games that year to rank seventh all-time. He was part of the 1972 Olympic Basketball team.

UTEP’s “Best All-Around Athlete” during the 1930-31 and 1931-32 seasons, Steele was a three-sport letterman earning four letters in football, two as part of the basketball team and one in baseball. He was a three-time selection to the Southwestern All-Star football team as a center and served as the team’s co-captain for three seasons.

The then “College of Mines” and “Texas Western” football teams recorded a 24-13-3 record through four seasons under the direction of Curtice. At the helm of the football program from 1946-1949, Curtice led the Miners to the program’s first ever Sun Bowl game victory with a 33-20 win over Georgetown in Jan. 2, 1950. Curtice’s 1948 and 1949 Miners led the nation in rushing.

The UTEP Athletic Hall of Fame dinner will be held at the Larry K. Durham Center Hall of Champions on Friday, Oct. 28. The five inductees will be presented during Saturday’s game against Southern Miss.

Individual tickets are $25; tables of eight are available for the equivalent of $200.

For more information please contact the Miner Athletic Club at (915) 747-8759 or via e-mail at mac@utep.edu.

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