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It was yet another amazing weekend to be a Rebel. It’s an absolutely great time of the year to be at UNLV, so let’s get into your update:
The Runnin' Rebels heating up
I can't say enough about the job head coach Lon Kruger has done with the Runnin' Rebel men's basketball team this season. As I heard him say a few times last week, this has been the most "interesting" season in his almost 30 years of being a head coach. I have the luxury of being a little more candid. This year had the chance to head downhill in a hurry - several times - with so many different obstacles facing this team over the past 10-11 months. It all began with a trying off-season that could have decimated this team. Instead, the strength of the program truly appeared this year. I'm proud of our young student-athletes for staying together and never losing confidence in each other. In many ways, the guys have been underdogs this year and persevered through a lot of challenges. They stayed calm and cool under the pressure - just like Lon - and never panicked. And that is exactly why they are where they are now... It's exciting to see the team peaking as we enter Mountain West Conference Tournament play and what should be the team's fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past five years.
Lady Rebels open MWC Tourney play tomorrow
The Lady Rebels captured a great comeback win over Utah on Saturday at home. Kathy Olivier's crew used a great late run to win on Senior Day at the Cox Pavilion over Utah, 51-47... The Lady Rebels will turn right around and play Utah again on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. PT at the Thomas & Mack Center to open the Mountain West Conference Championships. We hope you can make it out to root on the Lady Rebels. For all of our men's basketball fans who purchased all-session passes for the tournament, we hope you will make it out to the Lady Rebel game tomorrow. Go Lady Rebels! (And after the game, you can make it a UNLV doubleheader by heading out to Wilson Stadium to see the baseball team take on Arizona.)
Mountain West Conference Tourney at the Thomas & Mack Center
Last year's Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center were amazing and this year should be no different. Our men face Air Force on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. and our women open with Utah at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday... The T&M is a great home for this tournament and everyone with our facilities team that makes this event so great deserves a huge thank you. They do a great job. Fans around the conference love to come to Las Vegas in March and this tournament is turning into one of the top conference tournaments in the nation... For single session tickets for all of the games (and they are still available), call (702) 739-FANS or visit www.unlvtickets.com.
Rebel Baseball sweeps Nevada, Reno
Tim Chambers' Rebel Baseball team continues to impress early in the season. After splitting a pair of games midweek at Texas Tech, the Rebels swept a three-game series against the Wolf Pack up in Reno over the weekend. The Rebels outscored the Pack 24-6 in the three games to move to 11-2 on the season. It was our first sweep in Reno since 1986... Nationally ranked University of Arizona comes to town Tuesday (6 p.m.) and Wednesday (2 p.m.) of this week to take on the Rebels. We hope to see you out at the ballpark. We've had some great crowds to start the season - and that was with some tough weather. We can't wait to see the crowds we get as the weather gets gorgeous here in Southern Nevada.
Another title for UNLV men's swimming
Last weekend, the UNLV men's swimming and diving team captured its seventh consecutive Mountain West Conference title. Sophomore Cody Roberts, who won three individual MWC titles, two in new conference record times, was named the MWC Swimmer of the Year, while head coach Jim Reitz was named the MWC Men's Coach of the Year. Congratulations to Jim, his staff and an amazing group of young men.
Rebel Football opens spring practice
Fans love college football on Saturdays in the fall. But coaches love spring practice as well. In fact, head coach Bobby Hauck absolutely looks forward to this time of the year because he says it gives his staff a chance to worry about helping their players improve - and that's it. Spring practice is all about player development. And with us expecting to field one of the youngest teams in the nation next season, development at this time of the year is crucial... Our RebelTV crew had a chance to sit down with Bobby for a few minutes the week before spring practice began. Click here to see what he had to say about the future of the program.
Speaking of RebelTV...
Can we ask you a simple favor? If you have Cox Enhanced Cable, check out Channel 636... Each month we will be releasing a new hour-long segment of interviews and features about UNLV Athletics and the entertainment events we have at our great facilities - the Thomas & Mack Center, Sam Boyd Stadium and the Cox Pavilion... Our March segment was just released and features some interesting new content, including a fabulous interview with Runnin' Rebel great Greg Anthony (we are fortunate to have him as an alum) on the benefits of local student-athletes staying home to play at UNLV. Click here to see the Greg's interview or check it out on Cox Channel 636.
Young Rebel Softball team continues growth
Our young Rebel softball team pulled out an exciting, eighth-inning win on Sunday over San Jose State to win its fourth game in a row and improve to 11-7 on the season. Coach Pete Manarino's team is young - very young - starting as many as five freshmen in many games. It's going to be fun to watch this program grow in the upcoming years.
Women's tennis coach Cory honored
Congratulations to UNLV women's tennis coach Kevin Cory on being named the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Intermountain College Coach of the Year. Last season, Kevin's squad finished 22-5, posting its most wins since 1990. This year, the Rebels are off to a strong start and have been ranked as high as in the Top 30.
Bouras leading the way in men's tennis
UNLV men's tennis senior Mehdi Bouras has been named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks. He is the first tennis player from UNLV to ever win a conference award three consecutive weeks and is the first men's player from the school to earn four honors in one season... Coach Owen Hambrook's Rebels are ranked in the Top 50 in the nation.
A few more tidbits...
Don't forget we are less than three weeks away from the 2011 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals at Sam Boyd Stadium (March 25-26). Tickets are available at (702) 739-FANS or www.unlvtickets.com... Many of our student-athletes have had a great time teaming with the Rebel Pride Council and Clark County School District at recent assemblies at local elementary schools... Have you seen the new "Get Your Reb On" recycling truck from Republic Services? It's a great partnership with our friends at Republic and a reminder to get your "Green" on and recycle...UNLV men's golf will be hosting its tournament this week at the gorgeous Southern Highlands Golf Club... If you aren't a member of the UNLV Alumni Association, please think about joining today. The Association is a GREAT supporter of UNLV Athletics.
We are so grateful for your continued support of our student-athletes. Remember, our mission is to help our student-athletes grow academically, socially and athletically.
We hope you have a great REBEL week. Get Your Reb On.
Director of Athletics