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Willie Cager’s Celebration of Life

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso basketball icon Willie Cager's Celebration of Life will take place Friday at 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center at UTEP. The celebration will honor Cager's accomplishments as well as dedication to the Borderland.

Family, friends, and teammates will be in attendance to share memories of Cager.

The event is free and open to the public.

Originally from the Bronx, New York, Cager moved to El Paso to play basketball for Texas Western College. He made history by being part of the team that was the first ever to start five Black players - including Cager - in the 1966 men's basketball national championship game. TWC won over Kentucky in the title win, as depicted in the hit Disney film 'Glory Road.'

After graduating from TWC in 1968, Cager stayed in El Paso to support children of the Borderland, especially those with a love for basketball. He became an icon within the community.

Many El Pasoans remember Cager cheering on UTEP's men's and women's basketball players from the sidelines, but Cager's support didn't stop there.

Cager was once the coordinator for Ysleta Independent School District's After School Basketball Program.

He also started the Willie Cager Foundation, to teach at-risk children education and leadership.

Also, the Miner Atheltic's Club announced the Willie Cager Endowed Basketball Scholarship for intercollegiate men's basketball players.

Cager died on March 19 on the 57th anniversary of the title win. He was 81 years old. He is survived by one daughter and two sons.

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Kerry Mannix


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