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Remembering UTEP football legend Fred Wendt, who has died at 95

UTEP Athletics
UTEP football great Fred Wendt.

EL PASO, Texas -- Few people have accomplished what Fred Wendt achieved during his time as a UTEP Miner.

The All-American running back set UTEP records and was versatile in the way he played in the game.

UTEP confirms Wendt died on May 18 at the age of 95.

He was born on July 15, 1924 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

He attended school in Lubbock and Amarillo before moving to El Paso in 1938. 

He graduated from Austin High School in 1942 before entering Texas College of Mines (now UTEP).  

Wendt played for the Miners in 1942 and from 1946-48, sandwiched around a stint in the Army during World War II. 

He lettered in track and football at Texas College of Mines.

Wendt’s college football career produced 283 carries for 2,166 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

He ranks first in the Miner record book in yards per attempt (7.65), sixth in rushing touchdowns, and 10th in rushing yards. 

Wendt rushed for 1,546 yards, the third-top seasonal output in school history, in 1948, while also setting the school standard with 20 rushing scores. 

He rushed for 100+ yards eight times in a Miner uniform.

Upon graduation he held the NCAA record for single-season rushing yards, single-season scoring (152 points), single-game rushing (326 vs. NMSU) and single-game scoring (42 vs. NMSU). 

 On Nov. 25, 1948, Wendt set UTEP records with 326 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns versus New Mexico State.

The Miners would go on to defeat the Aggies by a final of 92-7.

Wendt is one of only two Miners to rush for 300 yards in a game, alongside current Green Bay Packers star Aaron Jones, who achieved the feat with 301 yards versus North Texas in 2016.

Wendt was also the Miners’ leading punter during the 1946, 1947 and 1948 seasons.

A two-time All-American (1947 and 1948), Wendt was inducted into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. 

He is also a member of the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame. 

In 2008, he was chosen as a member of the 75th Anniversary All Sun Bowl Team. 

He rushed for a game-high 92 yards on 15 carries in the 1949 Sun Bowl Game versus West Virginia. 

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


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