In the January 26, 1999, issue of The Pan American, the University of Texas Pan American’s student newspaper, sports editor Joe Leal opened his story with a sentence that read “Jim McKone is tired.”
In 1999 after 30 years of service the Sports Information Director retired. McKone spent tireless hours covering all of UTPA’s athletic programs and coordinating game management. In the same year he received CoSida’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
A year earlier a true highway man, Guadalupe (Lupe) Garcia, retired from being the Broncs’ athletic department official bus driver. Through out his 35 years of service Garcia logged more than half a million miles driving all the different teams all over the country to compete against their opponents.
On February 21, 2009, McKone and Garcia will become members of the first class of the University of Texas Pan American’s athletic Hall of Honor. The Hall of Honor is designated for people who were not UTPA athletes or coaches but have made great contributions to UTPA’s athletic programs. They will be inducted along with the third class of the University of Texas-Pan American’s Hall of Fame.
McKone first came to then, Pan American College in September of 1969. The long time sports information director is responsible for starting Bronc Diary, a daily journal about UTPA athletics. The diary ran from 1987-98 and had around 2800 entries that McKone logged himself.
In an article written by The Monitor, McKone stated that he thought there were three coaches who had made a significant contribution to the university. Sam Williams, who led the Broncs to the 1963 NAIA national championship, Al Olgetree, who is responsible for the fourth place finish in the College World Series and Reid Harter, who won five American South Conference titles in women’s cross country.
McKone was quoted in the same article saying, “There have been a lot of good coaches and a lot of good athletes. I think the thing I’d like to say about my retirement is that I always cared about the athletes. I think that was the most important thing.”
Garcia started his career in 1965 when then Athletic Director Jim Brooks moved him from the physical plant to the athletic department of what was then Pan American College. After two institutional name changes, Pan American University and UTPA, and eight full time athletic directors Garcia decided to hang the keys to his bus one last time. He retired at the age of 65, having spent more than half of his life working for the university.
In an article McKone wrote for various media outlets, Garcia was quoted saying, “I’m glad I stayed all these years, I enjoyed it all right or otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed.”
In the same article Garcia also mentioned that he didn’t have one favorite athlete but that all Broncs were the simply the best.
“I enjoy working with all the athletes and no one, I would say particularly, is the best,” said Garcia in McKone’s article. “Once a Bronc, they are all the best.”