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Booster offers to pay Snake’s way a

Snake’s spot in the Pit is secure.

Longtime University of New Mexico athletics booster and local businessman Del Archuleta has offered to pay the $1,544 needed for superfan Mark Tichenor, better known as “Snake,” to get his customary courtside seat on the north baseline of the Bob King Court for Lobo basketball games this season.

Del Archuleta

Tichenor was a mainstay for decades not only near the opposing team’s bench during games but also hours before games when he would welcome opposing teams when their bus would arrive at the arena.

The past two years, however, Tichenor stopped attending the games as he was no longer able to pay for his seat. Lobos coach Paul Weir said he wanted Tichenor back this season.

“I don’t really know Snake,” said Archuleta, owner of engineering and architecture firm Molzen Corbin. “I’ve met him once or twice, but I don’t even know if he’d recognize me. But I looked at the picture of him as a pallbearer for Bob King in the paper (accompanying an article on him in Sunday’s Journal) and just thought he belongs there. You know, if anybody deserves to be down there, it’s him, not me.”

Archuleta, who said Tichenor’s deep roots with the program make him deserving of his superfan status, will continue to have his customary season tickets, too, and hasn’t made any promises about paying for Tichenor’s season in the future. But for this season, he will pay the $1,000 Lobo Club donation required for season tickets in that area of the arena plus the $544 for the tickets this season.

The 52-year-old Tichenor, though polarizing in Albuquerque and not necessarily a figure many within in the UNM athletics department wanted back, has long been a favorite of Lobo players and their families.

“Our whole team is thrilled that Del stepped up to ensure Snake is a part of the home game atmosphere at the Pit,” Weir said. “What an amazing way to start the season with his generosity.”

As of Tuesday night, Paul Weir said he hadn’t yet been able to reach Tichenor to let him know his ticket has been secured for the season.

BYU GAME: Friday’s charity exhibition game against BYU in the Pit had sold 1,735 tickets as of Tuesday afternoon, according to UNM. No service fee is being charged on the game’s $10 tickets purchased in person at Dreamstyle Arena, though service fees for online purchases remain.

After game-day expenses, all proceeds will be donated to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which has raised to date $91,482,321, according to its website.

Friday: BYU at UNM, charity game: 7:30 p.m, the Pit