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Finishing like a Rebel is important in football, not just golf

Updated March 13, 2018 - 1:21 pm

UNLV head football coach Tony Sanchez looks forward to his frequent conversations with Rebels men’s head golf coach Dwaine Knight, whose mantra during his illustrious career has been to “finish like a Rebel.”

Sanchez hopes his football team embraces the same philosophy and is discussing it with them during spring practice.

“Coach Knight’s office is right down the hall from mine and we sit down pretty much every day and talk about coaching and life,” Sanchez said. “He’s had so many experiences and been so successful. He’s a wise guy and shares so many good nuggets with me.

“He says, ‘stay the course, be patient, take care of the little things and take care of the process.’ He also always talks about how important the final three holes are and that ‘if you win the final three holes, a lot of times everything works out.’ Finishing is something we’re working on every day with the football program. We’re competitive and getting better every single year, but if we can just get a little better in the fourth quarter, which for us is like the final three holes in golf, it will lead to a ton of wins.”

Sanchez has also taken a page from Knight’s fundraising playbook. When Knight came to UNLV in 1986, he quickly established the UNLV Golf Foundation. The funds he raised set the path that led to the 1998 national championship and a current nation-best streak of 29 straight NCAA regional appearances.

Sanchez has raised $24 million dollars — and counting — towards the building of a new campus football facility and also works closely with the UNLV Football Foundation. The annual foundation golf tournament is April 17 at Spanish Trail Country Club.

“The support of the foundation is huge,” Sanchez said. “So much of my individual efforts have been going out and raising big sums of money for a building, but the $24 million donated towards the facility helps the future and not today. The football foundation takes care of the other things that need immediate attention, like getting kids through summer school or uniforms or staffing.”

Sanchez, an 18 handicap, is a member at Southern Highlands and plays about twice a month during the off season, but once fall football practice begins, his clubs gather dust. The sport, however, continues to inspire.

“Obviously, there are different physical attributes in golf and football, but when it comes to golf, so much of it is decision making and football is the same way,” Sanchez said. “You also have to execute and finish in both, and we are focused on becoming a better tackling team. In golf, it’s great if you hit a lot of greens in regulation, but if you three putt, it makes no difference. Same thing for us is that we are giving ourselves a chance, but now we have to finish.”

Foundation tournament info is available at UNLVfootballfoundation.com.

Duo wins

Ronda Henderson and Sherry Jackson won last week’s Nevada State Women’s Golf Association partners event at Revere. Linda Cartwright and Sandra Jenkins won the net division.

Stars on, off course

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge hit balls at both Topgolf Las Vegas and Las Vegas Golf Center while in town scouting college basketball tournaments.

The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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