"You know, when they were first trying to get me in here, it wasn't that big a deal. "I didn't feel I belonged. But now that I'm here, it is. It is a very big deal. I am very, very honored."
-- The night before his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 29, 1997.
"I owe so much to my wife, Mary. She's always been so supportive, never complained. In fact, she was the one who encouraged me to go into coaching. She put it to me: 'What else can you really do?' "
-- Crediting Mary Haskins for his career choice after learning he had been chosen to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
"The national championship was played in Lubbock between us and Kansas. That was the best team we played. Kentucky (the team the Miners defeated in the NCAA finals) was averaging 97 points a game. We didn't let them run with it and, in the end, we were running with it."
-- Recalling the Miners' double overtime win over Kansas, led by All-America guard Jo Jo White, in the 1966 regional final.
"George McCarty was the man who helped me get this job. He had been the coach here (at TWC); he was a friend of Mr. Iba, a friend of mine. ... Something like that just wouldn't happen today.
"Ben Collins was the football coach and athletic director and he was behind me all the way. Dr. Joe Ray was the president and all he asked me was whether or not I could control the athletes in the dorm -- not if I could coach basketball.
-- Relating how he was hired by Texas Western in 1961.
"Mr. Iba was giving us a little chalk-talk about 11:30 one night after we'd lost a game something like 45-39. The score was too big and he didn't like it. He was talking about how to stop a fast break. I must have dozed off, and he threw an eraser at me and hit me right between the eyes. I hope I didn't miss much."
-- Relating a lesson learned from college coach Henry Iba when Haskins played for him at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State).
"I'm going to be around -- I love UTEP. Come by and have a beer and taco with me."
-- Aug. 24, 1999, at news conference to announce he would retire after 38 seasons as Miners' coach, 719 victories, 14 Western Athletic Conference championships, a national championship and induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
"I was playing AAU basketball. I was in Albuquerque and ran into George McCarty. He wanted me to come over to Texas Western and be the graduate assistant for him. But Polk Robinson was there, too. And he told me they needed a head coach in a little place called Benjamin.
"Shows you how dumb I was back then. I thought I'd much rather be a head coach than an assistant in college. So we got on the phone back to Benjamin right then and they hired me over the phone. I called Mary and told her we were going to live in Benjamin and she said, 'Where in the world is Benjamin?'
"Benjamin might not be very big. But it was a pretty good place for an old boy to start a career."
-- Recalling how he started his coaching career before his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"I remember talking to Eddie Mullens through one of those old crank phones, you know, the kind you have to crank to get the power built up. Eddie was a sports writer in Amarillo and he was calling to get the results of the Hedley Owls. Later on, we took our eight guys to the state tournament in Austin and Eddie went with us."
-- Remembering, as coach in Hedley, Texas, how he met Eddie Mullens, who was later hired as sports information director at Texas Western, on Haskins' recommendation.
"I really walked into some pretty good players. Nolan (Richardson) was here, Willie Brown was here, Bobby Joe Hill was already here and Bobby Lesley (now-retired Eastwood High coach) had been with me at Hedley (Texas) and came from a junior college here my first year. We weren't very big, but we had some 6-foot-4, 6-5 guys who could really play big."
-- Talking about his first Miner team in 1961-62, which beat defending Big 10 champion Iowa State, 66-59, in his first game, Dec. 2, 1961.
"I had a recruiting budget of $5,000 at that time. And I spent nearly every penny of it trying to get Jim Barnes.
"I certainly put all my eggs in one basket. I'd drive all the way to Oklahoma ... Jim was at Cameron Junior College and everybody was after him. Sometimes I'd fly. Most of the time I'd drive. But I always went."
-- Talking about recruiting Jim Barnes, who led TWC to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and was the first pick of the 1964 NBA draft by the New York Knicks.
"(Barnes) got four of the cheapest fouls I've ever seen. "The last one he got was the only legitimate foul. Kansas State lost in the NCAA Finals to UCLA by one point."
-- On the Miners' 64-60 loss to Kansas State in the 1964 NCAA Tournament, when Barnes got in early foul trouble and eventually fouled out.
"Bobby Joe (Hill) really struggled. And that's because I wouldn't let him do what he could do. He wasn't trying to be flashy, but it was just natural for him to go behind his back, do things like that. It's the way he learned to play. He was an equal of Nate Archibald (Miner and NBA star of the 1970s and early '80s). And if I hadn't let him go, we would never have won the national championship in 1966."
-- Talking about guard Bobby Joe Hill's struggles in 1965 season, the year before Texas Western's national championship season.
"Nine minutes into that game they finally got their first field goal. We were up 34-4. My guys knew they had proved their point, so they just cruised the rest of the night. We only beat 'em 86-68.
"... (Nevil) Shed had 18 in the first half. He was just a great player. He was 6-8 and he could guard a guard. He could guard anybody."
-- Relating how he knew the Miners' 1966 team was something special after it hammered No. 3 Iowa early in the season.
"It was one of the finest defensive games we've played all season. It was the defense. Before the game we feared their shooting. It was the best offensive team we played. But our team defense was excellent."
-- Interview with Associated Press after the Miners beat Kentucky 72-65 to win the NCAA men's national championship.
"We played as well as we could play. But you would have thought it was an awful year. I found out what it's like being 22-6 after winning the national championship.
"I ran into a man downtown -- and he didn't mean anything by it -- but he said, 'Coach, sure hope we have a good team next year.' This is after a 22-6 season."
-- On being the defending national champions. The Miners lost in the second round of the 1967 NCAA Tournament to Pacific.
"I told them I was making $23,000 in El Paso. They asked me to write down what it would take to get me at Detroit.
"I knew I wasn't going. So I wrote down $80,000 ... which, at that time, was like a million to me. And they said OK."
-- On the 1968 coaching offer from the University of Detroit, which Haskins accepted at a press conference in Detroit. He quit the next day and returned to El Paso after being assured he could keep his job at UTEP.
"You know, there's so much yapping on the court today. Guys are always talking back and forth to each other. But Tim's guys didn't say a word. That shows some discipline. The only thing they said out there was 'hands off, hands off.' That's what I used to yell at our guys on defense and Tim picked it up. He has his guys saying it to each other. It's a good idea."
-- After 1996 loss to No. 5 Iowa State and former assistant Tim Floyd in the finals of the Cyclone Holiday Classic in Ames, where Haskins got his first collegiate victory in 1961.
"This is a great, great honor. But our national championship had some social significance that might outweigh anything that would ever happen to me. I didn't know it at the time, but our championship in '66 opened the doors for a lot of black kids.
"There were no blacks in the Southwest Conference in 1966. But two years after we won, I happened to notice the All-Southwest Conference team and there were five black players on it. I'm happy to have been a part of that. If we'd have finished second (in '66), it wouldn't have happened so quick."
-- Same interview after learning of his Basketball Hall of Fame selection in 1997.
"Have you ever seen anything worse than that? Our defense was about as pathetic as it gets. Give them (University of Tulsa) credit. They made about every open shot they got; but open shots they got."
-- After Miners' 70-57 Feb. 13, 1997 loss in their first home game after Haskins' selection to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It was UTEP's worst home defeat in Haskins' tenure.
"Our problem isn't my age or my health. It stems from those NCAA sanctions that limited us to two scholarships for two years. We got two players out of the four and 50 percent is about right. It has been a lot to overcome."
-- Putting talk of his possible retirement to rest and discussing plans to return after 13-13 season in 1997.
"I wonder if all the people here know how much hard work went into this."
-- At the announcement in September 1997 that the UTEP Special Events Center would be renamed for Haskins after years of lobbying by university and El Paso officials.
"What a great player he was. Do you think we'll ever see one guy lead the NBA in scoring and assists in the same season again? It shows what a player he was.
"I remember when he came to El Paso. I saw a little bitty guy ... maybe 5-10, 135 pounds. His playground coach talked me into taking him. He was fun to coach. I didn't have to call timeouts when I had him, because I had a coach on the floor."
-- Talking about Nate Archibald while looking at his former player's exhibit in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame before his own induction in 1997.
"I wouldn't be in here today without Eddie. I told him two or three times just to drop it, not to nominate me anymore. But he wouldn't ever listen to me. He has everything to do with me being here and he's been a great friend."
-- At his hall of fame induction in 1997, crediting retired UTEP Sports Information Director Eddie Mullens, who nominated Haskins four times before the hall's selection committee enshrined Haskins.
"It means a lot to me. I've had an awful lot of good players over the years. And I'm happy for our players tonight. I thought our defense was very, very good in the first half."
-- Jan. 3, 1998, after Miners edged SMU 66-64 on center Jon Bomba's tip-in at the buzzer for Haskins 700th career victory.
"The reason I'm getting this done now is I can't see. My players are tired of getting chewed out ... I see something wrong and chew somebody out and it's the wrong guy."
-- Haskins joking before having cataract surgery two weeks later.
"We got happy and we're not good enough to get happy."
-- 68-year-old Haskins blasting his team during February 1999 practice. The Miners were in second place in the WAC, with a four-game win streak, preparing to play New Mexico at The Pit. During the practice, Haskins also tossed a chair, then laced into his players before sending them off the floor. The Bear was right: the Miners lost to the Lobos and lost in the first round of the WAC Tournament, but 16-12 record was first winning mark after three straight losing seasons.
"I'm not even comparable. "That's like being compared to the greatest of all time in my eyes."
Reaction to be ranked alongside his coach and mentor Henry Iba in 1999 Sports Illustrated article by Alexander Wolff.
“It's not about talent, it's about heart. It's about who can go out there and play the hardest. They're not going to give us anything, so you've got to go out there and you've got to take it.” - Don Haskins
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