During her 22 years as part of the security force at UNLV sporting events, Mary Wilmore was not one to mince words.
So why start now?
“I was fired,” said the popular Thomas &Mack Center usher about no longer being part of game day operations at the Thomas &Mack Center and other UNLV sports venues. “They won’t even let me do softball, baseball or women’s soccer.”
She was known as “Military Mary” — a nod to her fastidiousness that also became a term of endearment among UNLV players and fans and local media.
Wilmore, 64, said she was fired after a disagreement with a supervisor during the Lady Rebels’ Duel in the Desert tournament.
A UNLV spokesman said, per protocol, the university does not discuss personnel matters.
“When I first came to Las Vegas, I knew nothing about (sports),” Wilmore said. “I came from a little, bitty country town in Louisiana (Tallulah). I got on the bus and came here to make a better living for my children.”
She’s also a floor supervisor at The Mirage, so she said she would survive without the supplemental income. But she got emotional when asked about those she encountered in more than two decades on the job — especially the athletes she referred to as “my kids.”
“It didn’t matter if it was NBA Summer League or the national rodeo or a (UNLV) basketball game … I just love my kids,” said Wilmore, who also was a fixture at 51s’ baseball games at Cashman Field.
Many posted messages of support on social media.
“Hit the ball baby!” wrote Bryson Stott, a former Rebels baseball star and Philadelphia Phillies’ first-round draft pick. “(Hers was) one of the only voices I would hear during a game.”
“Hit the ball baby! “ One of the only voices I would hear during a game! What a shame https://t.co/ikCHNMoEwO
— Bryson Stott (@bryson_stott10) January 16, 2020
Around the horn
■ Sideline tickets for Sunday’s UNLV basketball showdown against fourth-ranked San Diego State at the Thomas &Mack Center are still available (or were as of Saturday) for $99. Looking for a deal on the aftermarket sites? Don’t count on it. At last check, a sideline seat will set you back $128 on StubHub and $136 on SeatGeek.
Legacy High probably had the best deal as part of a fundraiser. It was offering a midcourt seat in the balcony and an all-you-can eat wristband for $30.
I know this is a quick turn around but we’re selling tickets to UNLV’s game against San Diego St next Sunday @ the Thomas And Mack Center..$30..ticket to see the Runnin Rebel’s face 7th ranked & only undefeated team in Division 1 basketball left..great game & all you can eat food pic.twitter.com/xyRg9epQlW
— Legacy Longhorns 🏀 (@HoopsLegacy) January 19, 2020
■ There’s a UNLV dynasty in the making, as the Rebels’ cheerleaders and dance team repeated as national champions in Florida last weekend. It was the second straight title for the cheering squad and the third for the Rebel Girls.
— UNLV Athletics (@UNLVathletics) January 18, 2020
2️⃣ STRAIGHT 🏆🏆
— UNLV Athletics (@UNLVathletics) January 18, 2020
■ Boise State and the Mountain West issued a terse two-sentence statement that said Boise still is intent on pursuing a $1.8 million bonus (and then some) per its old TV deal under the conference’s new one, and that the conference still is intent on negotiating with the Broncos to avoid a lawsuit.
Here’s a thought: If Boise State is successful in retaining the bonus, it should offer a refund to anybody who bought tickets for last month’s Las Vegas Bowl and sat through all four quarters of the Broncos’ 38-7 loss to Washington.
Here comes some national attention to the possibility of Boise St joining the AAC in football….Opinion: Abandon Mountain West for the AAC? Boise State football appears to have options https://t.co/K1DrL5rdpe via @usatoday
— Jeff Caves (@JeffCaves) January 23, 2020
■ Former UNLV basketball star and media analyst Robert Smith is showing improvement after suffering a massive stroke, according to broadcast partner Jon Sandler.
“More improvement, alertness and smiles. You know that he is working hard on his recovery,” wrote Sandler on his Twitter account. “His eyes lit up when I told him that @TheRunninRebels are in second place in the MWC.”
Robert Smith update. More improvement, alertness and smiles. You know that he is working hard on his recovery. His eyes lit up when I told him that @TheRunninRebels are in second place in the MWC. Go Fund me page is still active. Watch for another fundraiser coming up.
— Jon Sandler (@JonSandler3) January 24, 2020
■ How many Raiders does it take to a change a light bulb? Not sure, but it apparently takes around eight current ones and a bunch of former ones to pound a stake into the ground that says the team officially will be known as the Las Vegas Raiders starting next season, per Wednesday’s ceremonial announcement at Allegiant Stadium.
A very, very small minority was hoping for Vegas Silver Raiders.
But give Raiders owner Mark Davis credit for not making that mistake, and for not saying those who live here refer to the city as “Vegas,” as Golden Knights owner Bill Foley did during the hockey team’s official birth announcement.
— Vince Sapienza (@VinceSapienza) January 22, 2020
The Associated Press auto racing writer Jenna Fryer, after NASCAR decided to expand its Truck Series playoffs from eight drivers to 10 this season — though only 11 drivers competed in every race in 2019: “I think I just qualified for the Truck Series playoffs.”
— Robert Barowski (@TheRobRotten) January 21, 2020