Texas alumni in town for Friday’s basketball game against Arkansas at Fort Bliss took a break Thursday night to honor an El Pasoan who happens to be a Texas legend.
Richard Ochoa was a running back for the Longhorns who won MVP of the 1953 Cotton Bowl after leading his team to a 16-0 victory over Tennessee.
Ochoa racked up 108 yards on 26 carries that day to cement his place in Texas lore. But he says it’s not the stats that he cherishes, but the fact he was a captain that day.
“I guess being a captain and representing Texas – one of three Cotton Bowl captains. And winning the game against Tennessee,” said Ochoa when asked about his fondest memory from the game.
The Longhorns honored Ochoa at an event downtown at the DoubleTree Hotel Thursday evening.
The Texas men’s basketball team is getting ready to meet Arkansas in a game at Fort Bliss Friday at 5 p.m. That gave the school a perfect opportunity to honor one of their football legends who happens to live in El Paso.
Ochoa, a native of Laredo, has called El Paso home for more than 50 years now alongside his loving wife, Marilyn.
“We’ve been married 65 years, so it’s real nice,” said Marilyn Ochoa at the event honoring her husband. “But Austin, I’d move there tomorrow if they’d let me.”
As for the basketball game Friday, Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in his weekly news conference that he hopes his players leave Fort Bliss with more than just their second win of the season.
“Experience, again, a different perspective from what it’s like to be a student-athlete in Texas,” said Smart. “We’re talking about, in some cases, people who are very, very close in age to our guys, who make a huge sacrifice. I’m really excited about it. I think it’ll be life-altering for our guys to gain some of that experience.”
The game is not open to the general public, but it will be televised at 5 p.m. on ESPN.