Dr. Gregory Selber makes a winning shot with new book on UTPA basketball
Contact: Christy Mendoza, intern/writer (956) 665-2741
Posted: 02/08/2013
Share |

It is no secret The University of Texas Pan-American's Dr. Gregory Selber is a true sports enthusiast. As a young child, Selber would race home after a game and stay up late into the night drafting up the perfect game plays. Much hasn't changed. You can still find Selber, associate professor of communication, busy on the sidelines writing, taking photos, and reporting for local media on all things sports.

Dr. Gregory Selber, associate professor of communication at UTPA, has written a second book focused on Valley sports. His latest, "Bronc Ball: The History of College Basketball at Pan American," chronicles 85 years of UTPA basketball history.
As the 2011 recipient of the Putt Powell Sports Writer of the Year award, Selber has placed RGV sports on the map with his noteworthy sports journalism. His first book, "Border Ball: The History of High School Football in the Rio Grande Valley," was published in 2009.

Selber has now poured his passion into a second book, "Bronc Ball: The History of College Basketball at Pan American." In 544 pages, Selber chronicles 85 years of UTPA basketball history.

"I wanted to write a book about college basketball that was more in depth than just a media guide," said Selber. "With all the available information UTPA already had in the archives, I felt it was my responsibility to UTPA and to our community to collect all the information and write a comprehensive account of Bronc ball that people could really be proud of."

Packed within the pages, Selber catalogs a wide range of material from each season-beginning in 1927-with extensive facts on each game.

"At first I didn't realize how big a project this turned out to be," Selber said. "I went through every game sheet and wrote details regarding the team, the hype, even about what the fans were like, it really is something."

Throughout the book, Selber provides important and relevant historical context of UTPA basketball.

UTPA faculty member Dr. Gregory Selber will sign copies of his new book on the history of UTPA basketball, published by UTPA Press, during the Bronc Madness Tailgate party at 4 p.m. on Feb. 16 under the Alumni tent in the parking lot outside the UTPA Fieldhouse.
"I wanted to include the history Bronc ball has gone through over the years," he said. "For example, back in 1957, under coach Sam Williams, we were the first integrated sports team long before Glory Road."

Selber refers to the 1966 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in which the all-black starting lineup-the first in history-playing for Texas Western University, now known as The University of Texas-El Paso, won the national championship.

"I dedicate a whole chapter on how racial integration came about through basketball here at UTPA," Selber said. "I wanted to emphasize the importance of what UTPA did back in 1957. We gave a lot of opportunities to people who had been previously denied those opportunities, which I consider to be the mission of the University today."

Included are also many interesting facts and UTPA basketball trivia, including the fact that UT Pan American had 18 players drafted to the NBA.

Selber's tome also contains 300 pictures, many dating back to the 1930s.

"Originally, I wanted to write this book as a combination of college and high school basketball here in the RGV, but after I discovered so much fascinating information over the 85 years of UTPA basketball history, I knew I had to dedicate myself exclusively to this college ball project," Selber said.

In addition, Selber gathers dozens of intermittent oral histories from some of UTPA's beloved players.

"I interviewed Lucious Jackson, Freddy Taylor, Jim McGurk, Lalo Rios from Edinburg and many others. I wanted to include their stories as a part of UTPA's basketball history," Selber said.

"Bronc Ball: The History of College Basketball at Pan American" hits the book shelves this month. Selber will be signing copies of his book, published by UTPA Press, during the Bronc Madness Tailgate party Saturday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. under the Alumni tent in the parking lot outside the UTPA Fieldhouse.