Tom Lea Painting ‘The Turning Point’ is an El Paso Sports Classic
On November 13th, 1965, the Texas Western Miners defeated the University of Utah 20-19 after a 92-yard touchdown pass from Billy Stevens to Bob Wallace on the final play of the game. The Miners went on to win their last three games that season, including a 13-12 victory over Texas Christian University in the 1965 Sun Bowl. The last second game winner against Utah was the turning point of that season.
A few months after the season ended, Tom Lea was asked to paint that famous play against the Utes. The end result is "The Turning Point," one of Lea's most well known El Paso paintings. There was a dedication to the university in 1966, and those who attended the banquet were presented with a print of "The Turning Point." Some were even signed by Lea, Stevens, Wallace, Chuck Hughes, and Mark Yarbrough.
Over the years, some of the prints have recirculated around El Paso through various auctions, estate sales, and other private collections. However, the piece is now more than 55 years old and it has never been reprinted and sold through Lea's estate. The El Paso artist passed away in 2001 at the age of 93.
If you are ever fortunate enough to acquire a print of "The Turning Point," consider yourself extremely fortunate. If it happens to be hand signed by Lea, Stevens, Wallace, Hughes, and Yarbrough then it is even more cherished for any Miners fan. Hughes died in 1971 in an NFL game while playing for the Detroit Lions. Wallace lives in Arizona and Stevens resides in El Paso. When they attended the dedication of "The Turning Point" while at Texas Western, they signed each other's print. The original Lea painting of the most famous play in Miners football history is still on display at the Larry K. Durham Center.