Born to Bleed Maroon & Gold: DieHard Profile, Angel Ornelas
Mike Howell
By ,
July 13, 2013 8:03 PM

Every Die Hard Sun Devil fan proves it their own way.


Nancy Szachasey and Angel Ornelas

Nancy Szakacsy and Angel Ornelas

Some renew their Season tickets and Sun Devil Club memberships year in and year out, through good times and bad.

Some debate recruiting and program developments late, late into the night with other Die Hards on chat boards like ASUDevils, DevilsDigest and the DieHard Forums.

Some fans will never miss an ASU Home game. They head to Tempe several hours before kick-off to host their own brand of a College Football Tailgate.

Then there is a special breed of fans who make a statement that leaves no doubt about their allegiance to Arizona State. They “prove it” with a bold, permanent mark on their skin pronouncing their pride as a life-long tribute to the the Sun Devils.


Ernie Ornelas

Ernie Ornelas was born in 1955 in Tucson, Arizona. Despite growing up in Wildcat country he evolved into a Sun Devil fan at a young age. In the 60’s and early 70’s, Ernie delivered the Tucson Citizen newspaper. As a boy he would turn to the Sports section of the paper he delivered to read about the great Sun Devils up north and their storied Coach, Frank Kush.

As he grew up, Ernie followed Sun Devil Football as they took home the Territorial Cup trophy thirteen times in fourteen years. And even though ASU was a member of the lesser-known Border Conference during those years, he listened to Sun Devil games on the radio as  they defeated programs from prestigious conferences like Florida State, Pittsburg and Nebraska.

This perpetuated Angel’s pride as a Sun Devil even though he was only 6 or 7 years-old.


Angel Ornelas

Through his father Ernie’s Maroon & Gold blood, Angel Ornelas was born a Sun Devil 18 years ago.

“When I was very young, I can remember my favorite t-shirt with Sparky on it,” Angel said. “Whenever I wore it, my dad would call me a ‘Die Hard Devil ‘. My friends would ask him what that meant and he would just say, ‘Angel loves the Sun Devils no matter what.’ I can still remember that.”

This perpetuated Angel’s pride as a Sun Devil even though he was only 6 or 7 years-old. It sounds cliche but their’s was a father & son relationships rooted in a mutual passion for the same team.

Unfortunately in 2010, the Ornelas family had a rough period. Angels Dad, Ernie, suffered a stroke. He was unable to work because he was limited to a wheelchair.

In Angel’s mind, Angel had the responsibility to step up and work in order to help support his family. He recounted that period in a way that suggested he simply looked beyond his own wants and needs as a 15 year-old kid to do what he was supposed to do given the situation.

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