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UNLV fires popular Thomas & Mack Center usher

Updated January 26, 2020 - 11:03 am

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.”

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.

■ 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.

■ 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.

■ 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.”

■ 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.

0:01

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.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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