Tim Chambers is being inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame later this spring. But UNLV’s baseball coach hopes he won’t be able to attend the May 30 ceremony at Orleans Arena.
“If I’m not there, that means we’re playing,” he said, referring to the NCAA regionals, which begin that night.
Hall of Fame chairman Jeff Motley said that’s OK.
“We’ll just Skype Tim wherever he is,” Motley said with a laugh.
Chambers, 49, has no plans to retire anytime soon. But he was still caught off-guard by the news he was being inducted as part of the Class of 2014, which will include former UNLV golf All-American Chris Riley, motocross star Carey Hart, drag racing team owner Ken Black and the Herbst family.
“Yeah, it did surprise me. But I’m very humbled by the honor,” Chambers said. “There’s a lot of great baseball names already in there — Fred Dallimore. The Maddux brothers. Rodger Fairless. Mike Morgan. Marty Barrett. Matt (Williams). Ralph Meder. Coach Lou (Pisani). To be mentioned in the same sentence with those people is unbelievable.”
Chambers has spent most of his adult life coaching baseball in Las Vegas. He spent nine years at Bishop Gorman High School. He also coached nine years of American Legion ball with the Las Vegas Knights. He then went to the College of Southern Nevada where he built the Coyotes into a national power, winning the Junior College World Series in 2003. In 2010, he coached future major leaguer Bryce Harper, who became the No. 1 overall draft pick that year.
Now in his fourth season at UNLV, he has helped bring the Rebels back to national prominence. UNLV is 16-7 overall and is in first place in the Mountain West at 9-3.
“I’ve been so fortunate to be able to coach in one city and and be able to do it at three levels,” Chambers said of coaching high school, JC and Division I college. “But it’s not just about baseball. It’s about the relationships you form with the players and the people you work with.”
Riley played golf from 1992 to 1996 for another Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame member — coach Dwaine Knight — and helped lead the Rebels to the runner-up spot at the 1996 NCAA Championships. He was a four-time All-American, and in 16 years as a professional, has earned nearly $12 million.
Hart, a Las Vegas native and graduate of Green Valley High School, began riding motorcycles when he was 4 years old. He was on the ground floor when freestyle motocross began in 1998 and he became the first motorcycle rider to ever successfully complete a back flip on a 250cc bike in competition.
Black, a Western High School graduate, has spent more than 40 years in drag racing. He won his first race while still in high school and though he became a successful contractor through his company Vegas General Construction, which has been in business since 1975, Black never abandoned his love of racing. He partnered with George Marnell on a racing team in the mid-1990s and, in 2002, teamed up with his son Kenny to form KB Racing. He remains owner of the team which has won several NHRA races and championships.
The Herbst family has also been actively involved with motor sports for more than 40 years. The family’s efforts are primarily focused on off-road racing where it has dominated SCORE with wins in the Tecate 250, the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 races.
“It’s a diverse group,” Motley said of this year’s class. “We’ve got athletes in Carey and Chris. We have a coach with Tim. And we have builders in Ken Black and the Herbst family. We think all three areas are important and we’re always trying to represent everything about the sports community.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased online through the hall’s website — sportshalloffame.net.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.