Every five years when UNLV fires its football coach there is a great whoop-de-doo and la-di-da about football. It usually lasts until the UNLV basketball team plays a quality nonconference opponent. Is there a program out there UNLV ought to be imitating?
The UNLV basketball team got a heavy dose of perspective Thursday morning at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. Just 12 hours after holding off stubborn Portland of the West Coast Conference at the Thomas & Mack Center, the Rebels dropped in on pediatric and intensive care wards and put smiles on young faces.
Sometimes late at night Bobby Florence will stop by the main gaming floor at the Gold Coast where people are wagering money on a new baccarat game called Rabbit’s Play. He’ll get a little twinkle in his eye, as he did when he scored 35 points in one half against Saint Mary’s 40 years ago.
By now you probably are familiar with Notre Dame having hired a wildly successful high school coach named Gerry Faust to wake up the echoes. But there’s an even bolder experiment that better correlates to UNLV that was conducted in North Texas.
A couple of hours after Bobby Hauck resigned as UNLV football coach on Friday, Gonzaga beat St. John’s in one of those sort-of-attractive early season college basketball matchups on TV.
The left-for-dead Rebels won the WAC regular-season title and conference tourney. They faced UC Irvine in the NCAA Tournament.
Because it’s still college football season — and because UNLV has regressed to its losing ways faster than anybody could have possibly imagined — the subject changes often whenever sports fans gather ’round here this time of year.
The Rebels beat No. 7 Colorado State, the first time UNLV has beaten a Top 10 team. The victory moves them into second place in the Mountain West and puts them on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
Houston routed UNLV, 69-0, in the season opener of 1989. The Cougars’ wide-open offense, led by quarterback Andre Ware, revolutionized college football.
UNLV lost 48-34, but the Rebels were driving late with another chance to tie before a tipped pass was intercepted in the end zone. Give UNLV tons of credit for hanging in there.