Flight delays are affecting thousands of travelers across the country, including some scheduled to play a bowl game Friday afternoon.
Three University of Pittsburgh players were stranded at the Dallas airport with flight issues during their attempt to make it to El Paso for Friday’s Sun Bowl.
UTEP men’s basketball coach Joe Golding noticed Samuel Okunlola, Jake Franti and Hudson Primus in a rental car line and naturally assumed they had travel plans.
His assumption was correct. With his wife and child with him, Golding noticed rental cars were running out. So, he rented a bigger vehicle and offered the young men a ride after getting permission from the players’ parents and Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi.
“There wasn’t hardly any rental cars left,” Golding told KTSM in El Paso. “As we’re in the rental car line, I see these three guys. They have Pitt bags on. And they start talking about playing in the Sun Bowl and having to get to El Paso. There wasn’t any cars left, so I was like, ‘If we can find a big enough car, I’ll take you guys home.'”
The players had no idea who Golding was.
“They were like ‘Who are you?’ I’m like, ‘Actually, I live in El Paso, I coach at UTEP, and my family and I would love to give you a ride. I get it, I understand it …’
“Out here in West Texas, it’s what we do,” Golding added. “I didn’t even really think twice about it. I would hope someone would do that for (his children) Cason and Chase one time if they were stranded on Christmas night and needed a ride home.”
“They got here late last night. I just want to give a shout-out to those guys. That just goes back to the hospitality. Great job by Joe, and we appreciate it,” Narduzzi said on Tuesday, via CBS Sports.
Golding said the players may not have gotten to El Paso until Wednesday had they not connected.
Now, the Panthers have a full roster at practice and will face UCLA Friday at 2 p.m. ET.