‘M’ is for Miners: A case for the NMT Miners (Opinion)
This is the last week alumni, staff, and students can make a submission to NMT’s official mascot election. After the poll closes on October 4, a committee will sort through the suggestions and take 3 - 5 finalists to present to the school community for another round of voting. On October 24, the winner will be announced and all of NMT’s official club sports teams will have their new mascot. Having an official mascot will be great, but the fact that there’s an even an election has been a bit of a surprise to some.
The author of Paint The 'M': A History of A Socorro Landmark recalls being told the massive ‘M’ on the mountain stood for “Mines, minerals, and midnight oil” (“...burn the latter to become proficient in the former.”). “Miners” could be added to that list as well, and for many members of the community it already is.
“Miners” has been an unofficial mascot of various athletic groups on campus for a long time. Being open for a new mascot suggestions is a understandable gesture, but it also highlights the lack of support the school has for college athletes.
“I think it’s important for new students, new staff, and new administration to understand that we’ve had student athletes on campus who call themselves ‘The Miners’ for a long time.” said Paul Fuierer, a current faculty member who helped revive the soccer program for both men and women at NMT back in 2000. But the name goes back farther than that. The men’s soccer team is The Miners, and has been since at least 1984. The school’s 1930s football team had the same name. It’s important to consider the sports teams when choosing the mascot, as athletes will be the ones most affected.
It’s a very appropriate mascot, too. “Most of us aren’t miners, but the fact of the matter is this school wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for miners and the mining industry. It’s important to recognize your roots.” said Fuierer. Miners are what this school was made to produce, and the reason it is around.
A school’s mascot overwhelmingly represent the school athletics, so on the bright side the mascot election is bringing light to NMT’s athletic programs, which is another nod at the school’s heritage. NMT had a NCAA basketball team in the 1930’s, and for a few decades “The M Club” gave awards to commendable performers in intercollegiate athletics. According to The Porphyry from 1931, “The Club was organized with the object of upbuilding athletics and it aims to show that brawn as well as brains is an admirable asset to anyone.”
Fuierer was part of the first retention committee at NMT to analyze the cause of student loss, and reviving the soccer program was a product of that. It’s no surprise that Socorro doesn’t have much to offer, but it does have some athletics. A proper mascot would be massively beneficial for campus sports, and with that a wider array of campus activities. And what mascot better captures the heritage and culture of NMT?
New Mexico Tech: home of the brawny, brainy Miners.