Details released for Willie Cager memorial services
EL PASO, Texas -- A public memorial for Willie Cager will be held on April 14th in the Don Haskins Center, with services beginning at 7 p.m.
The family told ABC-7 anybody is invited to attend the services to honor the Texas Western basketball legend.
Cager was a basketball player and a member of the 1966 Texas Western (UTEP) team that would go on to win a NCAA National Championship.
Head coach Don Haskins would start five black players in the national title game, which was a first in NCAA history.
Originally from the Bronx in New York, Cager would make El Paso his home for the rest of his life following his playing days at Texas Western.
He was a fixture at UTEP basketball games and constantly gave back to the community.
Cager died on Sunday, the same day as the 57th anniversary of 1966 National Championship, at the age of 81.
His family told ABC-7 they are holding a private memorial service, but they also wanted to allow the public to pay their respects to Cager.
Initially the family was looking to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of renting the Haskins Center but UTEP told ABC-7 they would find a way to cover the costs.
In a statement to ABC-7 on Wednesday a UTEP spokesman said, "UTEP has informed the Cager family that we will fund the use of Memorial Gym or Don Haskins Center for Willie Cager’s public memorial service. We are honored to host the service, and we are working with the family on the arrangements.”
According to state law, as a state institution, UTEP is not permitted to allow the use of a state resource for free, which includes the rental of facilities. However, there are different ways for the school to cover the cost of events, including privately donated funds.