||With basketball tipping off this Friday night and the football team showing great strides the past two weeks, I wanted to take a few minutes today to share with you some of my thoughts - as the director of athletics - on the state of these two critical programs. Yes, they are critical because of fan interest and popularity. But they are also the pipeline to the finances that keep this department running, thus, their success has a major impact on everything we do.
Yesterday, both men's head basketball coach Dave Rice and football head coach Bobby Hauck were featured in "Five Questions With" on UNLVRebels.com. I encourage you to check out both of these quick Q & A's. They are must-reads for Rebel fans. Click here for Dave's. Click here for Bobby's.
We also have an update below on some more tickets being made available by tournament organizers for the Las Vegas Invitational Basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on Nov. 25 & 26 featuring the Runnin' Rebels. We hope you enjoy this update:
Good to Great - Runnin' Rebel Basketball
Those around me know I am a big fan of books and teachings dealing with business and self-improvement. I am a big believer that you can always look to improve yourself; that you should always remain a student in life and look to learn from others. As many of you know, one of the classic business books of our time is "Good to Great," by Jim Collins. I've always been fascinated with the book and its philosophies so when I began to hear Dave Rice talk about his Runnin' Rebel program in terms of "good to great" (see the Q&A at UNLVRebels.com), it hit home. Dave definitely has a challenge on his hands.
Yes, the first-year coach has the advantage of coming into a strong and solid program. It is winning, it returns many players, it is getting a new practice facility to impact recruiting and player development and it features tremendous community support. But he and his staff also inherit the high expectations from the strong fan base. This is not saying high expectations are not a good thing. In fact, I would argue just the opposite as we are all products of expectations. I would tell you that Dave's expectations for his program are as high as almost anyone's - that is one of the reasons we hired him.
But with that said, in college basketball - as with many industries - making the move from being very good to being great is a challenge, sometimes the hardest elevation to make. This is a very good basketball program right now. Over the past five seasons, the Runnin' Rebels have reestablished themselves as one of the best in the West and are back prominently on the national stage. Now Dave and his staff want to take on the challenge of making it a great program. That does not happen overnight and it does not happen without challenges and adversity. As excited as I am for the future of this program, I have also been around this game long enough to know Dave needs a little bit of time and patience from all of us before we experience greatness. He deserves that opportunity and it will pay dividends for all of us in years to come.
Real Progress - Rebel Football
It's been fun to hear all of the positive comments from Rebel fans over the past two weeks about the progress of the football team. The thrilling win over Colorado State on Oct.29 and last Saturday's strong performance vs. No. 5 Boise State have people talking about the fun atmosphere out at Sam Boyd Stadium as well as the bright future of the UNLV football program.
Coaches - and rightfully so - do not talk about moral victories. But as an administrator, quite frankly, sometimes that is my job. It is my responsibility to Rebel fans to make sure our programs are progressing, that they are continuously getting better. I must hold the coaches responsible accountable for the growth of their teams.
What we witnessed on the field for the first 30 minutes against Boise State was the best Rebel football we have seen played in recent seasons. The team was well-prepared and executed. And the players came to play, building off the confidence of the late come-from-behind win over Colorado State the week prior. It was fun football to watch. It was football Rebel fans were proud of. While it did not result in a win, it was an obvious sign on growth. And that is what we need right now - proof of progress.
This Saturday's game at New Mexico is a great opportunity for our young football team to learn to win on the road, something it has struggled doing in recent seasons. If the Rebels can find a way to beat the Lobos, it will be another sign of progress as Bobby and his staff look to build a program all of us can be proud of. I'm ready for kickoff right now. Go Rebels!
Tickets Available for LVI Tournament at Orleans Arena
We have been informed by organizers of the Las Vegas Invitational that more tickets to the event to be held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas (Nov. 25 &26) have been made available to the public. Our UNLV allotment has been sold out for some time and the tickets being made available are not part of the UNLV allotment.
Tickets are only available through the Orleans Arena by calling (702) 284-7777 or visiting www.orleansarena.com. UNLV Athletics IS NOT in charge of the ticketing or the production of this event. It is an independent event the Runnin’ Rebels are participating in. UNLV is scheduled to face USC on Friday, Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m. PT and will play either preseason No. 1 North Carolina or South Carolina the following day.
Rebel Athletic Fund Monthly Winners
Congratulations to Larry & Janet Gabriel, the October winner of our Rebel Athletic Fund monthly drawing. They will receive a Nike UNLV Football t-shirt and an autographed poster from the men's basketball team.
Thank you so much for your continued support. Please remember to ATTEND UNLV games, WEAR Rebel gear and TELL others about UNLV Athletics. We appreciate all you do. Get Your Reb On!
For the Rebels,
Director of Athletics