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UTEP men’s basketball team opens season tonight ‘Amen’ chant returns this season

The UTEP men’s basketball team will tip-off the 2012-13 season tonight against Oral Roberts on Bring Back the ’80s night.

UTEP players are dressed as iconic 80’s characters in the team’s 2012-13 schedule poster. The men’s basketball season ticket stock features Miner legends from the 80’s, including Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins.

The season ticket commercial includes video highlights from the 80’s as well as the return of the beloved “Amen” chant, which will be reinstated for home games this year.

The Miners will also wear throwback uniforms on “80’s Night” for their season opener versus Oral Roberts (Nov. 9).

The Miners began an unprecedented run to seven straight NCAA Tournaments during the 1983-84 season, rising to as high as fifth in the nation that year. They claimed Western Athletic Conference regular season titles in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987, and WAC tournament trophies in 1984, 1986 and 1989.

Current UTEP assistant coach Greg Foster was a member of the great Miner teams from the late `80s, playing alongside future NBA stars Antonio Davis and Tim Hardaway.

“Every game was truly a war,” Foster said. “We had tremendous rivalries and our crowd really got after the other team. The electricity was incredible. People came out in droves. There were times when you could barely hear yourself think, it got so loud [in the Special Events Center]. Getting tickets wasn’t easy. It was a fun, fun time.

“We weren’t afraid to play anybody. A lot of us felt like we were back burner guys from a recruiting standpoint. But the one thing we always knew was that we could guard and defend and stop people. We had a chance every night because of it.”

In a nod to the “play anyone anywhere, anytime” philosophy of the era, UTEP has put together an ambitious 2012-13 schedule including home games versus UNLV, Oregon, Memphis, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Marshall, UCF and Houston.

The Miners have also lowered season ticket prices in the upper reserved section from $195 to $160, which breaks down to less than $9 per game. Season tickets are on sale now by calling 747-6150, and group packages (only $12 per person) are available by calling 747-7450.

“It’s one thing to reduce the cost of the tickets, but the value comes in the talent level of the teams that are coming into the Haskins Center this year,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “We wanted those seats that were unoccupied in the upper rows to be filled, because having been here in the 80’s I recognize what an intimidating place the Haskins Center can be when our educated fans are in full attendance. I’m thankful that Bob Stull and Dr. Natalicio pushed hard for our fans in bringing about this new ticket pricing plan, which I think will help create a whole new generation of Miner fans.”

About the Amen chant

The Amen chant started when the Miner band started playing the music at home basketball games in the early 80s and the crowd would join in, singing “amen” over and over again, usually toward the end of a UTEP victory.

The Amen chant is based on an African American spiritual in which verses, usually from the song “Mary Had a Baby,” are sung by a soloist while a choir sings amen.

Watch a choral performance of “Amen” here.

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