Richard Flores never expected to take a trip down memory lane when he saw an old picture of himself on a poster outside The University of Texas-Pan American's new Alumni Center while driving down Closner Boulevard in Edinburg.
The picture, taken in 1962, shows Flores throwing a pitch during his final season playing baseball for the Broncs. The UTPA Office of Alumni Relations made posters of that picture and others of that year to promote its upcoming Homecoming 2012 Reunion Feb. 17-18.
Flores, now a lecturer in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at UTPA's College of Education, said he was surprised the office used him as one of their event's poster boys.
"I was an average player; I wasn't a superstar," he said.
But records kept by the University show Flores' recollection of his letterman days is modest.
Flores, who graduated from then-Pan American College with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology in 1962, was named Most Valuable Player for the Bronc Baseball team and was named "the workhorse of the pitching staff" as he pitched 74-2/3 innings with a 3.08 earned run average.
During his time at Pan Am, he also met his wife, the former Estelle Keaton.
"Playing ball was a great experience for me," said Flores, an Edinburg native. "My wife was very supportive of me."
Since graduating from Pan American College, Flores and his wife have spent the past few decades educating students throughout Texas -- Flores as a coach and athletic director and Mrs. Flores as an English teacher.
"Education has been a part of our lives and Pan American has been the core of where we got our education," he said.
For much of the past decade Flores has been teaching part-time as a lecturer in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, which he said he is proud to do.
"It's an unbelievable feeling, especially when you're teaching courses that you really have your heart and experience in and it adds so much to recovering information that you maybe have forgotten," he said. "The kids haven't changed -- the world has -- but kids haven't changed. They still have a sense of humor, they still work hard and they still have goals."
Flores had the opportunity to sign his photo in December when the University celebrated the opening of the new alumni center. He and his wife hope to make it to the upcoming reunion and connect with their former classmates.
UTPA will begin its Homecoming Week 2012 celebrations on campus Feb. 13 with a variety of events. On Friday, Feb. 17, the University will host its UTPA Alumni Ball from 6:30 p.m.-midnight at the Health and Physical Education II Building. During the ball, UTPA will honor distinguished alumni and friends and will have a silent auction where people can bid on items including a cowboy hat from country music star Clay Walker, jewelry and vacation packages.
The fun continues Saturday, Feb. 18, when the University inducts qualified alumni into its 50+ Club during its 50+ Alumni Luncheon celebrating the Class of 1962 and Broncs who graduated earlier. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Health and Physical Education II Building.
Later that day, from 3-7 p.m., UT Pan American will host its Bronc Madness Tailgate before the men's basketball team takes on Chicago State University at the Fieldhouse. The tailgate will include a battle of the bands, car show, activities for children and free hot dogs and popcorn. Alumni, friends and the community are also encouraged to bring their own barbecue pits and cook while they catch up with old friends and make new ones. The tailgate activities will be held in Parking Lot F.
For more information about the reunion events, call the UTPA Office of Alumni Relations at (956) 665-2500.