1966 NCAA legend Willie Cager passes basketball dream on in youth program

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EL PASO – Willie Cager is a household name in this city. He began his journey when he was picked up from the Bronx to come play for the Texas Western Miners, now UT El Paso.

To most El Pasoans, Cager and his teammates are legendary for winning the historic 1966 NCAA national championship. But many may not know that Willie has continued to be a big influence on the community through his work with youth sports.

Since graduating in 1967 it has been Cager’s passion to give back to the children of El Paso. He started up a youth basketball camp in 1989 and continues to try to grow the program to help at-risk children.

Participants in the Willie Cager After School Basketball League range from third graders all the way up to seniors in high school.

Cager has a long-term goal of creating a $35 million multi-purpose complex facility for youth recreation that would include playing fields, an Olympic-size swimming pool, an ice-skating rink, bowling alley and a vocational classroom building.

This story was produced during the summer 2016 UTEP Broadcast Journalism Workshop  for the TV-style news magazineBorderzine Presents: Hidden El Paso. The program explored an eclectic mix of El Paso’s hidden hazards and unexpected gems.

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