Dec. 26, 2009
El Paso, Texas - With the strains of Marty Robbins' hit "El Paso" blaring over the loudspeaker, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson walked out to the Sooners' first practice for the 2009 Brut Sun Bowl, Friday, and remembered his last visit to the game.
Wilson was a reserve offensive lineman in 1982 when his North Carolina Tar Heels knocked off Texas, 26-10, on Christmas Day.
With temperatures for OU's first practice hovering around 50, Wilson noted a stark contrast from his previous memory of El Paso.
"A snow storm hit during the game," he said. "I watched the game freezing in the shadows. It snowed during the whole second half. We had a snow day in the Sun Bowl.
"After the game, we barely made it out. They shut down the airport after we left for a couple days."
The festivities leading up to the game left warmer memories for Wilson. He regrets that the players on this team won't have the same experiences.
"We got to go to Mexico," he said. "Juarez wasn't quite as bad then and we went over there, I think, three times. We went to a bullfight and a nightclub. I remember they introduced us as the North Carolina Cornhuskers at the nightclub. I don't know how they came up with that."
The food made an impression too.
"There was a time back in the 1980's in Carolina when there was no such thing as bean dip or salsa and chips," he recounted. "Every night in the hospitality room they had cans of El Paso bean dip and we thought that was the greatest thing ever."
And while the food is long gone, the apparel is not. Wilson showed up at this year's football coaching staff Christmas party wearing the jacket he was given as part of the 1982 trip. Other items have since been discarded.
"They took us to one of the boot factories and they took us to a Wrangler factory," he said. We all got a jeans jacket and a cheap pair of $49 boots. Those things are long gone."
From the trips to Mexico to the food to the apparel to the win, Wilson said it's a trip that he recalls fondly.
"We had a great trip and the people associated with the bowl game were tremendous," he said. "From everything I've heard, that part hasn't changed a bit. We need to come down here and have a similar experience right down to the outcome of the game."