Jake Frantl, Samuel Okunlola and Hudson Primus found themselves stuck at the Dallas airport Sunday, without a way to make it down to El Paso amid a mass of canceled flights.
The three Pitt football players were traveling separately down to the Sun Bowl following time with their respective families for the Christmas holidays and would’ve likely ended up missing Pitt’s Monday practice if not for the help of a good samaritan also making his way down to El Paso.
UTEP basketball coach Joe Golding was able to provide a Christmas miracle for Pitt football.
As the trio tried to find a way to make the cross-state trip to El Paso, Golding, as he recounted to KTSM 9 New’s Colin Deaver, stepped in to help them out.
“We’re in the rental car line,” Golding said. “And I see these three guys and they have Pitt bags on, and they start talking about playing in the Sun Bowl and they’re trying to get to El Paso and there were’t enough rental cars left. And I was like, ‘Hey, if we can fund a big enough car, I’ll take you guys home.’ And they’re like, ‘Who are you?’ I was like, “Actually, I live in El Paso, I coach UTEP and my family I would love to give you a ride.'”
Great man and awesome family! Will never forget this Christmas story! https://t.co/k9mQ4Zoyjp
— Jake Frantl (@jake_frantl) December 26, 2022
Golding, along with his wife and son, were able to find a rental car big enough to account for all six of them to make the nine hour trip down to El Paso. As Pat Narduzzi said Monday after the first Sun Bowl practice at Eastwood High School, it was just a bit of Texas hospitality right around the holidays.
“Yesterday afternoon we had a couple of guys get delayed on their flights and get stuck in Dallas, Joe Golding, the head basketball coach for Texas-El Paso here in town, him and his wife and child picked up and took our three guys and drove them — because the flight was delayed — to get them here for practice,” Narduzzi said. “They got here late last night. I just want to give a shout-out to those guys. It just goes back to the hospitality.”
Until last night, Narduzzi had never heard of Golding. But after the UTEP head coach and his family made the trip with his players, he considers the whole thing a blessing.
It’s a real life Christmas miracle, especially as all three players hit the practice field Monday.