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Bishop Gorman has own ‘Coach K’

May 29, 2013

Bishop Gorman basketball has own ‘Coach K’ in Sheryl Krmpotich

By Royce Feour

With all due respect to a guy named Mike Krzyzewski who has compiled a pretty good record at Duke University, Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas has its own “Coach K” who has plenty to be proud of.

Gorman’s “Coach K” is Sheryl Krmpotich, who has been head coach of the girl’s basketball team for the past 15 years. Krmpotich has coached the Lady Gaels to four Nevada large-school State championships in 2006, 2007, 2008 and in 2010.

The Gorman girls should have captured the State basketball championship in 2009 but a highly controversial foul called against the Gaels with one-half second left in the game and Gorman leading by one point led to two Centennial free throws and a one-point loss for the Lady Gaels at the Orleans Arena.

“That was a horrible call,” Krmpotich said. “It was a charging call and should have been our ball.”

Gorman has also been runners-up in the State tournament four times, including the heart-breaking 2009 loss.

“Coach K” has a stellar 15-year record of 403 wins and 75 losses.

Before Krmpotich arrived in 1998, the Gorman girls had never made the finals of a State basketball tournament.

I can remember when  girls basketball at Gorman was weak — very weak. The Lady Gaels were at the bottom of the conference standings year after year. It would be hard to describe how bad things were.

Chuck Gerber, the outstanding former Gorman State-championship winning football coach and athletic director, can fulfill the role of unofficial athletics historian for the school.

Gerber said federal Title IX had a lot to do with the improvement of girls sports at Gorman.

“(with Title IX) Being an athlete (for the girls) was just as good as being a cheerleader or a Precisioinaire (drill team member),” he said.

Gerber said Krmpotich has certainly improved Gorman  girls basketball.

“She has definitely done a tremendous job,” he said.

Krmpotich said it is very rewarding to “coach these young ladies and watch them develop into premier athletes and get to the next level.”

“And winning the State championship is always nice,” she added in an understatement.

The Lady Gaels lost three key players who transferred out before this past season but still managed to reach the State championship game where they lost to a very good Reno High team led by Mark McGwire’s two outstanding nieces who are 6-foot-4 and 6-1. It was one of Krmpotich’s best coaching jobs.

“I enjoyed this (2012-13) season,” she said, “because we had five freshmen and two seniors and with all of the turmoil prior to the season. Everybody thought we would be horrible. It was gratifying to finish the way we did. We had an opportunity to win State.”

One thing that cannot be denied is the outstanding support from the Gorman alumni and the former parents. And many of the parents at any given time are former Gorman students themselves.

“The Gorman community, the tradition and the excellent support that Gorman provides is a family environment that feels like home,” Krmpotich said.

One of her elite players at Gorman and beyond was the 6-4 Ashley Gayle, quite possibly the best shot-blocker in the history of Nevada high school girls basketball.

Gayle was selected to the Parade High School Girls All-America team and she played in the prestigious McDonald’s All-America Game after her senior season in 2008. Gayle led Gorman to its third straight State championship with a win over Reno in the finals with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks. Not a bad night. She was selected Nevada Class 4A Player of the Year.

Gayle played four years at the University of Texas and played professional basketball in Bulgaria last season.

Dannielle Diamant played on the Lady Gaels first three State champion teams. She was a Sporting News All-America honorable mention as a junior.

She played four years at Northwestern and was honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference last season and was on All-Big Ten Academic team.

The 6-foot-5 Diamant started 29 games and averaged 11.5 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. She had 93 blocks, fifth-best in Northwestern history.

Dannielle is the daughter of Jodie Diamant, who did so much to help her father (and Dannielle’s grandfather) Jerry Tarkanian finally get elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame with induction in September.

Aaryn Ellenberg finished her Bishop Gorman career in 2010 as Gorman’s all-time leading scorer with 2,144 points. She averaged 22.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 steals in leading the Lady Gaels to the State championship in 2010. Ellenberg was a Parade and McDonald’s fourth-team All-America and played in the McDonald All-America game.

Ellenberg will be a senior at Oklahoma next year and has been a starter since she was a freshman when she set a single-season school three-point record with 94. She broke her own three-point school record with 113 last season. She had made more three-pointers than 58 teams entering the NCAA Tournament last season.

Ellenberg was by far Oklahoma’s leading scorer last season with 18.7 points per game.

Krmpotich paid tribute to her long-time assistant coach Mike Carter.

“Mike Carter was a valuable assistant for 13 years and played a key role in our success, our State championships and the development of our players with the skills to go to the next level and receive college scholarships,” she said.

Krmpotich was born in Gary, Ind., and raised in Merrillville, Ind., and started all four years in basketball in high school and was All-State two years. She earned a basketball scholarship to Xavier University where she started four years and was all-conference as a junior and senior.

She was an assistant women’s basketball coach at Austin Peay for five years and for two years at UNLV.

“Coach K” has sent an impressive 34 players to college with scholarships, including 32 to four-year schools.

1.  Paige Sutton, Nebraska

2.  Anne Sostman, Saddleback Community College

3.  Jackie Flynn, Barstow (Calif.) Community College

4.  Jackie Munch, Vanderbilt

5.  Ashley Cook, Cal Lutheran

6.  Tiffany Touton, Texas-El Paso

7.  Jennifer Kline, South Florida

8.  Elizabeth Cansdale, Mississippi

9.  Breona Gray, Notre Dame

10. Cassie Burks, Carson Newman

11. Charity Renfro, Penn State

12. Moneka Knight, Texas Christian

13. Shanae Green, Stephen F. Austin

14. Cash Connors, Southern Utah University

15. Kaila Mangrum, University of San Diego

16. Lauren Hoisington, Northern Arizona

17. Lynsey Freeman, University of Texas-San Antonio

18. Ashley Freeman, University of Texas-San Antonio

19. Kaila Goff, Southern Utah University

20. Brittany Bridges, Chaminade College (Hawaii)

21. Darriel Gaynork, Mississippi State

22. Kiara Belen, UC-Irvine

23. Ashley Gayle, University of Texas

24. Dannielle Diamant, Northwestern

25.Yahindra Edwards, Alabama State

26. Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma

27. Chelsie Pitt, Gillete (Wyo.) JC

28. Amber Lane, Menlo College

29. Meghan Carter, Saint Benedict College

30. Ashlin Gross, Leo University in Tampa, Fla.

31. Zhane Dikes, Univesity of San Francisco

32. Julia Ewalefo, Pittsburgh State

33. Tonishia Childress, Boise State

34. April Rivers, Austin Peay State

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Pia Zadora threw a hot dog in the ring at the Holmes-Spinks fight at the Riviera Hotel

Aug. 28, 2012

By Royce Feour
Rank (or status) hath its privileges. Was that what Pia Zadora was thinking? Or was she even thinking. Probably just reacting.
I saw a lot of bizarre and unusual incidents in 42 years of covering professional boxing in Las Vegas. Most of them involved the fighters, of course. Even in the infamous “Fan Man” fiasco at the Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe heavyweight championship fight at Caesars Palace, the fighters were directly affected by a long delay. The “Fan Man” became famous for his act although he suffered a beating by the folks in Bowe’s corner.
Zadora was a very small but an interesting sidelight of the story at the first Larry Holmes-Michael Spinks heavyweight championship fight in the parking lot behind the Riviera Hotel on Sept. 21, 1985.
Zadora was a popular singer but more to the point for the incident, the reason for this column was that she was married to Riviera Hotel owner Meshulam Riklis.
Even in 1985 I had covered countless important championship fights and there was never a controversial incident involving the host hotel owner’s wife. To even think there would be one would be unfathomable.
But something did happen involving Zadora. She was sitting in the first row on the East side of the ring. I was sitting to her right in the first row of the press section.
At or near the bell for the end of a round, I saw Zadora throw something in the ring. Duane Ford, chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission at the time, said it was a hot dog.
In discussing the incident recently, Ford said, “The referee did something and the crowd reacted.”
Ford said the referee had warned one of the fighters. It may have been for hitting after the bell or a low blow. Whatever it was upset Zadora.
Ford went over to Zadora and I could see he was scolding her.
Ford said he told Zadora, who was standing up and yelling, ‘You can’t throw things in the ring. You do it again and we’ll have security take you out. She was embarrassed at first. (Then) she laughed,” Ford said.
I remember thinking to myself at the time, “She is married to the owner of the hotel. What are they going to do to her?”
I just can’t believe a hotel security guard is going to eject the owner’s wife. No way.
If someone from the crowd had run up to ringside and tossed a hot dog in the ring in a similar fashion, I have to think they would have been removed from the temporary stadium by hotel security at once. The Nevada commission wouldn’t even have been consulted. There would have been no warnings.
That is why “Rank (status) hath its privileges.” And being the hotel owner’s wife is a heck of a status when his hotel is the host for the fight.
Zadora and Riklis had been married eight years earlier when she was 23 and he was 54. They were divorced in 1993.
The fight itself was so good and historic that Zadora’s incident received almost no attention in the press. I don’t think many writers even noticed it.
Spinks took a 15-round unanimous decision to become the first light heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight (IBF) championship. That was one huge historic angle.
The other was that Holmes had been undefeated coming into the fight with a record of 48-0. Holmes was trying to equal Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0, but he fell short. That was also huge.
The third reason there was virtually no coverage of Zadora’s incident was that Holmes was a story in itself at the post-fight press conference.
I had covered all of Holmes’ championship fights in Las Vegas and I had never saw him so bitter and antagonistic as he was at the press conference. He blasted the judges for the decision. (Two judges had Spinks winning by three points and one judge had Spinks winning by one point.) Holmes said the judges could kiss him where the sun doesn’t shine.
Holmes was also disrespectful, to say the least, of Marciano, who was a treasured fan favorite of the general public.
Holmes said, “(Marciano) couldn’t carry my jockstrap.”
Given all of that, it is little wonder that virtually no writer wrote about the Pia Zadora incident. But I don’t forget owner’s wives throwing things in the ring.
I was reminded of the Zadora incident when she appeared at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in late July.
I have heard unofficially that she may return for more appearances at the Smith Center. I certainly hope no one throws anything on the stage when she is performing.
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Fletcher Jones Mercedes helps USC recruit Penn State player

Wisconsin = Class
USC = Not in the same class.

By Royce Feour
This is about the recruitment by USC of Penn State running back Silas Redd. (Redd rushed for 1,241 yards last season as a sophomore.)
USC coaches were after Redd before penalties were even announced by the NCAA against Penn State. USC coaches scoured the Penn State football roster for someone to help the Trojans and found Redd. USC  coach Lane Kiffin said that on ESPN radio.
My first thought were  the vultures were circling. Yes, yes, it is all legal. Penn State players are allowed to transfer and play immediately without sitting out a year. USC and any other school can take players from Penn State.
However, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielerna said he had no intentions to recruit Penn State players. Viva la difference!
A couple of points are interesting. No. 1, USC itself is under a scholarship penalty from the NCAA for  violations and is limited to 75 scholarships for the season. No problem — USC said one player might be academically ineligible. If not, USC said it would take away a scholarship from a previous walk-on. That’s nice. The poor walk-on works his tail off, earns a scholarship and now Kiffin might take it away. Real classy.
USC went through Redd’s high school coach to see if Redd would be interested and made contact with Redd’s father that way.
Kiffin was at the Pac-12 dinner when he said, “I picked up the phone, in true SC fashion and called one of our great donors Ted Jones at Fletcher Jones Mercedes … .”
Kiffin said. “So he sent his big ole Mercedes jet which was in Vegas to pick us up in L.A. We got done with the Pac-12 meeting. We flew to White Plains, N.Y. It was myself, my dad, our running backs coach, our o-line coach.”
Nice of Ted Jones to do that. I would have liked to have seen Jones take the expense of sending the jet to New York and back and donate it to the Humane Society or to feed the homeless. But Jones can spend his money the way he wants and making the Mighty Men of Troy even mightier is more important, I guess. Which is nobler for a wealthy and prominent supporter of USC? And yes, I am sure Mr. Jones is a generous donor to charities. Heck, he should run for office. Maybe mayor. Or governor.
USC was already one of the favorites to win the national championship without Redd. Now the Trojans are even better. The rich get richer.
I also wonder if Fletcher Jones makes its corporate jet available to the UNLV and the University of Nevada  athletic programs. The Fletcher Jones family of dealerships includes businesses in the Las Vegas area and Jones West Ford in Reno.
Actually, the Fletcher Jones empire extends to Northern California, Hawaii and Illinois as well. No wonder Lane Kiffin calls Ted Jones.

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On experiencing the San Francisco Earthquake World Series

It was a World Series game to remember. And the game wasn’t even played.

It was Oct. 17, 1989, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco where Game 3 of the World Series was to be played between the host Giants and the Oakland A’s.

But Game 3 wasn’t played that night because the Loma Prieta Earthquake hit the area, resulting in 63 deaths, with thousands injured and displaced from their homes.

With the 21st anniversary of the Oct. 17 date coming up and the Major League Baseball playoffs underway, I have been thinking back to that memorable time in San Francisco.

Wayne Pearson and I were sitting in the lower part of the upper deck between home plate and first base when the quake hit.

I remember the stadium shaking and for an instant not realizing what was going on. I was convinced it was an earthquake when I saw the dust rising from the hills outside the stadium.

Pearson said, “I was most impressed and surprised by the sound of the earthquake. At the time it sounded like a huge swarm of bees coming by. Other people described it as a really loud jet airplane flying by.”

I was a sports writer at the Review-Journal at the time but I was at the game on my own because I was an avid Giants fan and not to cover the Series for the paper.

I did call the R-J later from our hotel and was asked to give a first-person account of the earthquake at the World Series.

Much of this blog was taken from my own story which appeared on the front page of the R-J on Oct. 18, 1989.

Pearson, who obtained our tickets, was the director of development for the UNLV Museum of Natural History at the time. He was better known as a former associate athletic director at UNLV and as a member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The quake hit at 5:04 p.m. PDT.  about a half hour before the game was scheduled to start and Candlestick was mostly full.

There was little or no panic inside the sold-out stadium. In fact, there was actually some celebration of the quake, believe it or not. People actually stood up and cheered. Some people made jokes about it.

Most of the power was off in the stadium, including the field lights, scoreboards and message board.

There were no lights in the restrooms or the concession stands.

The only announcement made at the stadium was that if it was necessary to evacuate, fans were told to walk calmly to the nearest exit and leave.

And the fans were calm although some did have serious and worried expressions.

Fans around us left in a slow but steady stream. Pearson and I stayed longer than most. It wasn’t until players from both teams, with their wives and children accompanying them, walked across the field to the dressing rooms that we left.

It was a good thing we did finally leave then because we managed to catch the last bus to leave Candlestick for San Francisco.

The bus was crowded, and like at Candlestick, there was some joking on the bus along with the concern and the angst. But I remember I sure wasn’t joking. I was worried.

The freeway to the city was closed, but the bus went around the barrier. I guess the bus driver wanted to get home like everybody else.

Seeing a darkened San Francisco from the freeway was certainly an eerie sight as the city was without power.

I saw smoke from the bus which I later learned was from the Marina District.

Pearson and I got off the bus at the corner of Market Street and Van Ness and quickly walked to our hotel, the San Francisco Hilton.

We walked down a darkened Market Street and the only lights were from the cars driving the streets. Traffic lights were not working, adding to the chaos.

The sidewalks and streets along Market Street were littered with glass from skyscraper windows that broke during the earthquake.

The lobby of the San Francisco Hilton, which covers one square block, did have lights from an emergency generator.

Thousands of people were stuck downstairs because they couldn’t get to their rooms.

The elevators were not working. Security advised not to try to walk up the stairs, which were in compete darkness. Since we were staying on the 34th floor, we had to kill time downstairs.

The San Francisco Hilton graciously gave away sandwiches, lemonade and soft drinks downstairs. The hotel also provided pillows and blankets and people were laying on the floor all over the place.

I stood in line to use a house phone when I called the R-J. My actual purpose was to ask them for news.

Finally, about 2 a.m. one elevator started working and we were able to get to our room.

The room had a patio and we were able to look out at the city in the dark, including the collapse of the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. Talk about eerie.

Pearson and I had taken a drive to Berkeley and driven back across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco  less than three hours before the earthquake.

Pearson said, “What if the earthquake had happened earlier when we were on the Bay Bridge?”

Pearson and his wife, Jerrie, had seen the first two games of the Series in Oakland. Jerrie returned to Las Vegas after the first two games and I flew up and joined Pearson for Game 3.

A few days before the earthquake when Pearson was at the San Francisco Hilton, he remembers, “I heard the building creaking. I said to Jerrie, ‘Listen to that. It sounds like something is wrong with this building.’”

Talk about ominous.

Some day, UNLV will beat Nevada in football, but it wasn’t this season

Some day UNLV will beat Nevada in football, but it wasn’t this year at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Nevada rolled over UNLV, 44-26, for its sixth straight victory Saturday night in the state rivalry for the Fremont Cannon.

Not that the result wasn’t expected. The Wolf Pack from Reno was a consensus 21-point favorite. It really wasn’t a matter of if, but how much.

One statistic from the game tells volumes. Nevada had 374 yards rushing and the Rebels had 80. Vai Taua had 188 yards and four touchdowns, including a 72-yard TD run, in 19 carries.

Taua missed last year’s game with a dislocated elbow. Just think what the Wolf Pack could have done with him. They won 63-28 without him as then-freshman Mike Ball from Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas scored five touchdowns.

Ball missed Saturday’s game because of a team suspension. It is a good thing Taua and Ball didn’t play together in either game or who knows what would have happened.

Of course, Nevada had senior quarterback Coin Kaepernick who was 13 of 17 passing for 124 yards and one touchdown and added 97 yards rushing and one touchdown in nine carries.

And that was a comparative off night for Kaepernick. The previous two years against UNLV he had about a gazzilion yards in combined total offense. Actually, it was “only” 797 yards and six touchdowns in those two games.

The Wolf Pack now lead the series against the Rebels, 21-15. Nevada coach Chris Ault is 13-7 in those games.

But back to UNLV beating Nevada some day. Ault, who has done a terrific job at Reno with a smaller budget than UNLV, isn’t going to coach forever.

At the start of the season, I figured Ault might only coach one or two more years.
The Wolf Pack could be undefeated going into the Boise State game Nov. 26 in Reno.

This is Nevada’s best chance to beat Boise State in about 10 years. If the Wolf Pack could upset the Broncos, Ault may want to go out on top. And yes, I realize beating Boise is a big if.

Also, When UNLV hired Bobby Hauck away from Montana, I thought he was a good hire. With Ault possibly retiring in a year or two and Kaepernick being a senior, I thought Hauck had a chance of ending Nevada’s total domination of the Rebels down the line. At least in some years.

Meanwhile, I never thought I would see the day when Nevada was ranked higher than USC, Texas and Penn State, three perennial elite national programs.

But the Wolf Pack team is ranked ahead of USC, Texas and Penn State this week. Nevada is No. 21 in the AP media poll and No. 23 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.

USC’s football budget is so much higher than Nevada’s, the Pack’s budget would be mere tip money to Pete Carroll or Lane Kiffin.

Also, Nevada is No. 18 in the Sagarin ratings.


JAYMIE MORRIS ATTENDANCE — Family and friends of Jaymie Morris gave her a surprise 50th birthday party at a tailgate Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Jaymie is the daughter of the late Bill “Wildcat” Morris and Vivienne Morris.

Since the first Rebel football season in 1968 when Jaymie was 8 years old, she has missed only ONE home UNLV football game with the exception of her college years at Nevada and some time spent in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Even when she was in Flagstaff, she commuted to Las Vegas frequently.

But more than making up for any home games missed while out of town was the fact that Wildcat and Vivienne (my cousin) took their kids to ALL away games as well for much of the 1970s.

Jaymie went with the family to Japan for a Rebel football game in 1978 and to China for a three-week trip with the Rebel basketball team in 1979.

Overall, I  know of hardly any others who have attended more Rebel football games in history than Jaymie Morris. Yes, there is Jack Cason. But who else?

First Nevada-UNLV football game: Was field goal good?

Talk about the “Twilight Zone” of college football.

I covered the first UNLV-Nevada football game in 1969 for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The inaugural game was at Mackay Stadium in Reno. I wish I could have seen the game.

OK, I exaggerate. I wish I could have seen the deciding play of the game. Actually, there was about a minute remaining in the game when Nevada’s John Barnes kicked a 33-yard field goal which lifted the Wolf Pack to a 30-28 victory.
The trouble was by the time Barnes attempted the field goal it was so dark (and Mackay Stadium didn’t have lights) that nobody in the press box could see well enough to know if the kick was good.

The stadium was enveloped in darkness and not only nobody in the press box could see if it was good or not, nobody I talked to who was in the stands could see if it was good, either.

But the officials called it good — surprise, surprise considering where the game was played. I couldn’t swear it wasn’t good, but I could say that it was, either.

Bill Daniel is a guy who had a unique perspective on the game.

Daniel, a product of Reno High School, was coaching at UNLV at the time. He had joined Bill Ireland’s first staff for the Rebels in 1968 as the line coach.

Daniel had played four years at Nevada and had been an assistant coach for the Wolf Pack for three years before coming to UNLV.

“It was getting darker and darker,” Daniel said this week. “The only way I saw (Nevada) beating us was to kick a field goal. We felt they couldn’t score (a touchdown). We tried to defend field position, but they got field position for a field goal try. When the ball was kicked, we on the field had no idea whether it was good or bad.”

Daniel has either coached in or broadcast nearly all of the Nevada-UNLV games. After coaching for four years at UNLV, he received his doctorate at Utah. He returned to UNLV where he was selected as the chairman of the Physical Education Department.

He then returned to Reno where he was on coach Chris Ault’s first staff in 1976. He coached the Wolf Pack for three more years, then was a broadcaster for 25 years.
Dick Trachok was the Nevada athletic director for that first game in 1969 after having coached the Wolf Pack for 10 years.

Trachok said, “Everybody said it was so dark, nobody knew if the ball went over.”
But Trachok amended that to say, Oh, yeah, everybody from the Wolf Pack saw the ball go over. UNLV kidded about the ball not going over.”

Uh, Dick, the UNLV folks weren’t kidding about the kick not being good (even if they couldn’t actually tell either way). In fact, some of them were rather outspoken about it. That first game was quite controversial.
Daniel said, “That was something that just happened. We just bit our lips. Ireland didn’t complain.”
Trachok said, “I thought it was nice the old school started out with a win.”

Trachok, retired and now the AD emeritus at Nevada, was quite gracious about Saturday’s game between the Wolf Pack and UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium at 7 p.m.

Despite Nevada being a consensus 21-point favorite, Trachok said, “UNLV has some pluses for this game. It’s not going to be a pushover. We’ll be lucky if we can get out of there with a win.”

Diplomacy thy name is Trachok.

A controversial play came in the fourth quarter when the Rebel defensive back Rich Logan, from Rancho High School, intercepted a pass.

I’ll let fellow UNLV defensive back Richard Pfeifer take it from there, “Rich picked off the pass. I was real close to him. I was peeling off to block for him and he was running right down the sideline and it was someone on the Reno side who was not in uniform who tripped him. He stuck his foot out and tripped Rich. I went berserk. I was really upset. I was yelling at the guy and I was yelling at the refs. The refs didn’t see it. At least that’s what they said.”

Despite that, Pfeifer is one of the most honest guys you will find.

Guess what he said?

“The kick was good.”

Pfeifer is now retired from Sprint and living in Las Vegas.
UNLV defensive standout Tommy Rowland said, “The field goal, we didn’t think they made it, but who knows? It was dark. It looked like it went off to the side.”

Rowland is in his 38th year teaching in the Clark County School District. He did retire once (officially) but came back immediately because of a shortage of teachers in Special Ed. And I thought I worked a long time (37 years) at the R-J.

Rowland was “Defensive Lineman of the Year” for the Rebels all four years he played. He lasted the entire preseason season for the Minnesota Vikings in 1974. But he left the team on his own to return to Las Vegas and accept a teaching position.

Barnes, who kicked the winning field goal (if it was indeed good), went on to become the head football coach at Los Alamitos High School, a long-time power in Southern California prep football.

New UNLV coach Bobby Hauck has undoubtedly talked with Barnes many times trying to recruit his players.
Barnes develops top quarterbacks and receivers every year at Los Alamitos.

Nevada has won five straight games and leads the series, 20-15. Before the Wolf Pack’s current five-game domination, the Rebels had won five in a row.

The Nevada-UNLV rivalry has one of the best trophies in college football — the “Fremont Cannon.”

The cannon was conceived by Ireland. I still remember Ireland saying he was going to do it and he did. Ireland went to the Kennecott Copper Corp., which donated the $10,000 to build the Fremont Cannon.

“Bill was a history buff, so he was intrigued by the cannon,” said Jeanne Ireland, who was the lady behind Bill Ireland while he coached at Fernley (six-man football), South Tahoe, Nevada and UNLV.

Ireland was a native of tiny McGill in White Pine County, where Kennecott was based in Nevada. While he was in college, Ireland worked summers at Kennecott. So Kennecott was a natural for Ireland.

“(White Pine County) was his home. He was very proud of it,” Jeanne Ireland said.

You can go to my website at at any time and read previous columns (blogs), such as they are.

You can comment on this blog by going to the website and hitting the “comments” link at the top right of the blog.

You have to leave your name and e-mail, but the e-mail will not show on the website.

Bishop Gorman proved it could play with De La Salle

The Bishop Gorman High School football team proved it could play with De La Salle before taking a 28-14 loss on Saturday night in Concord, Calif.
The Gaels led 14-7 at halftime in the game televised by the CBS College Sports network.
The matchup between the nation’s No. 9 team De La Salle (USA Today rankings) and No. 18 Gorman attracted a standing-room-only crowd estimated at about 4,000.
It was a big-time high school football atmosphere. No question about it.
The host Spartans provided a shocking beginning to the game by when Antoine Pickett returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
De La Salle led 7-0 before either team ran a play from scrimmage.
Coach Tony Sanchez’s Gaels tied the game when junior halfback Shaquille Powell
scored on a 2-yard run and Colin Ditsworth added the extra point with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
The drive went 82 yards after a De La Salle punt. The big play was a 73-yard pass play from quarterback Anu Solomon to Evan Zeger down to the 8-yard-line.
Gorman took a 14-7 lead when Powell ran for a 17-yard touchdown with 10:27 left in the second quarter.
Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Smith made a great catch of a Solomon pass for a 35-yard gain to the Spartan 17-yard-line for the big play of the drive.
The Spartans tied the game midway through the third quarter after recovering a fumble at the Gael 19-yard-line and scoring on the next play.
The turning point of the game came with the score still tied 14-14 in the fourth quarter.
Powell scored an apparent go-ahead touchdown for Gorman on a spectacular 25-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
But the touchdown was nullified because officials called a questionable illegal motion penalty on the Gaels.
That call was crucial, to say the least. It was a huge momentum changer. Gorman went from having a significant momentum surge to having the air let out of them with the controversial call.
To make matters worse, before the Gaels could run another play, they were called for a delay-of-game penalty, putting the ball back to the 35-yard line and even further out of field-goal range.
The 52-yard field goal distance was too long and Ditsworth’s attempt fell short although he is an outstanding kicker and I’m confident he will receive a Division I scholarship.
Give credit to De La Salle. The Spartans drove down the field to take the lead at 21-14. They added a touchdown with 1:30 to go in the game for the 28-14 victory.
De La Salle did control the game in the fourth quarter with a strong running attack.
Sanchez knows his team put on a good showing for the crowd and television audience.
“We’re proud of our kids the way we fought,” he said, noting the opening kickoff put his team in a hole.
Sanchez also said the Gorman fumble inside the 20-yard-line which led to a De La Salle touchdown and the Gorman touchdown which was called back were the
plays which led to Gorman’s downfall.
“The defense did a fantastic job and the offense did a pretty good job,” Sanchez said. “The offensive line really did a fantastic job handling their guys very well.”
“On defense, the front eight all did a fantastic job against their veer. The defense did a fantastic job all night,” Sanchez said.
“The whole game came down to the touchdown called back. They ran the clock out after that.”
Sanchez called Powell’s 25-yard touchdown which was called back one of the best runs he’s ever seen by a high school runner.
“He broke five tackles,” Sanchez said.
Powell had 111 yards gained rushing.
“Saturday night we looked like a great team,” Sanchez said. “We just couldn’t overcome a couple of things.”
Frank Fertitta III, chairman and CEO of Station Casinos, was a two-way standout lineman on the 1979 Gorman large-school State championship team.
And, to say the least, Fertitta and his brother Lorenzo Fertitta are major Bishop Gorman boosters. Note I did write “to say the least.”
Gorman’s football stadium is named after their father, Frank Fertitta Jr.
Frank Fertitta praised the De La Salle crowd for its sportsmanship.
In fact, he praised everything about De La Salle, from its great football team to its outstanding marching band.
Fertitta said it was great for Gorman to be on the same field with De La Salle, which won 151 straight games between the 1992 and 2003 seasons.
“We hung with De La Salle. We weren’t embarrassed,” he said.
“I think Tony Sanchez has done an unbelievable job,” Fertitta said. “Tony Sanchez is the guy who brought Gorman to a new level. He’s not afraid to play the best.”
Fertitta’s 1979 State champion Gorman team included Danny Tarkanian at quarterback; halfback Brad Ezor, Chi Chi Bengochea, Mike Brascia (who played at Southern Illinois) and kicker Bobby Lozzi.
Gorman also won the State football championship in 1980 and Lozzi kicked game-winning field goals in both games.
Frank and his wife, Jill, have a daughter, Victoria, who is on the varsity cheer squad at Gorman and a son, Frank, who is a sophomore two-way player on the Gaels junior varsity football team.
Lorenzo Fertitta also has a son, Lorenzo, also a sophomore two-way player, on the Gaels JV team.
Gorman wrestling coach John Field also knows football. He was a star high school player in Ohio and received a scholarship to Southern Illinois, where he was a teammate of Brascia.
Field played as a freshman on Southern Illinois’ 1983 NCAA Division I-AA national championship team. As a senior, he was a 1-AA All-America defensive back for the Salukis and signed a free agent NFL contract with Tampa Bay.
Field, who played one year in the Canadian Football League with Toronto, walked the sidelines at De La Salle.
“I think it was a great experience for the Gorman team, coaches, staff and fans to go play a team like De La Salle,” Field said. “Gorman put itself in a position to win when it scored a go-ahead touchdown but it was called back. Give De La Salle credit for winning the game in the fourth quarter. De La Salle was as well-coached as any high school football team I’ve ever seen.”
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Bishop Gorman will play ‘historic’ De La Salle on CBS College Sports

If any high school football program in the country could approach “legendary” status, it would be De La Salle, an all-boys Catholic school in Concord, Calif.
If holding the nation’s longest prep football winning streak at 151 straight games doesn’t qualify a school to at least approach “legendary” status, I don’t know what they have to do.
De La Salle won the 151 consecutive games from 1992 through the 2003 season. The Spartans went 12-0 or 13-0 every year for 12 straight seasons.
Talk about a dynasty.
In fact, the website “The Spartanhead,” dedicated to De La Salle, says “The Spartans are perhaps the greatest dynasty in sports history.”
What other team has won 151 straight games?
(I do concede that Long Beach Poly has sent a lot of players to the NFL.)
And guess who is coming to dinner at De La Salle on Saturday night?
Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas will challenge the Spartans on a game to be televised by CBS College Sports.
“The Spartanhead” reports that since Bob Ladouceur took over as head coach at De La Salle in 1979, the Spartans have the highest winning percentage in football history.
Take that USC. And Ohio State.
Want some national championships?
De La Salle has five of those, thank you.
The Spartans were selected national champions in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 by USA Today.
De La Salle has done pretty well lately, too. The Spartans are two-time California State champions.
De La Salle defeated Crenshaw of Los Angeles to win the 2009 California Interscholastic Federation championship. The Spartans won the 2008 CIF Division I State title.
Oh, and when De La Salle set the 151-game record winning streak, it didn’t just break the previous mark, the Spartans obliterated it. The old mark was 72 and De La Salle more than doubled it.
Take that Bill Belichick.
“The Streak” came to an end when the Spartans lost to Bellevue (Wash.) High School, 39-20, at Qwest Field in Seattle on Sept. 5, 2004, before a crowd of 24,987.
I can’t even imagine a crowd of 25,000 seeing a high school football game in Nevada.
It’s easy to write about De La Salle because the team knocks you out with impressive numbers. And the adjective impressive doesn’t do the Spartans justice.
De La Salle is ranked No. 9 in the nation in the latest USA Today rankings. Gorman is No. 18. Not bad, either.
USA Today has De La Salle (2-0) at No. 3 in the West and Gorman (3-1) at No. 4.
No. 2 in the West is Hamilton of Chandler, Ariz.
Hamilton beat Gorman, 24-17, in the Sullenberger Classic between the defending Arizona and Nevada large-school champions in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Aug. 21 in the Skydome at Northern Arizona University.
Bingham of South Jordan, Utah,  is No. 1 in the West and No. 3 in the country in the USA Today poll.
No offense to the fine neighbors in the “Beehive State,” but I am surprised a team from Utah is No. 3 in the nation. I always think of Florida, Texas and California as the best high school football in the country.
De La Salle opened the season by tromping Junipero Serra (Barry Bonds’ alma mater), 45-7, and then turning back St. Mary’s of Stockton, 40-14.
The Spartans are led by linebacker Blake Renaud, headed for Boise State, and defensive end Dylan Wynn, bound for Oregon State.
First, let me emphasize Ladouceur is a tremendous coach. No doubt about it. His record proves that. But he can out Lou Holtz even Lou Holtz.
“I don’t think there is any question (Gorman) has better athletes than we do,” he said.
Ladouceur added, “I don’t think we are going to just line up and mow them down. They’re big and hard to move. We’re going to have to run the ball and mix it up.”
Poor De La Salle.
Hey coach Ladouceur. Your team has won 201 straight games against Northern California competition. You’ve won five national championships. And you’re playing at home.
Gorman has won three straight since the close loss to Hamilton in Flagstaff.
The Gaels beat Del Oro of Loomis, Calif., 38-13, at Gorman. A good win. Del Oro won 11 games last season.
Coach Tony Sanchez’s Gaels also rolled over Clark, 48-0, and Sierra Vista, 63-0. Gorman seriously let up against both teams in the second half.
Sanchez coached in the same league as De La Salle before coming to Gorman.
I asked a Gorman assistant coach after last week’s game how much film they had on De La Salle.
“Years,” he said.
Sanchez has a classic example of blackboard material for this game. USA Today picked De La Salle to win 34-15.
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$75 too much for end zone ticket to Wisconsin game

I wish I had started this blog a couple of weeks earlier because something that really bothered me was UNLV having the audacity to charge $75 for ALL single-game tickets to the season opener against Wisconsin. That $75 per ticket includes all seats in the end zone. That is more than a little strong.

Remember, this is UNLV football which has had only three winning seasons since 1990. This isn’t USC, Ohio State, Florida or Alabama.

The highly respected Dr. Wayne Pearson was one of the people along with Bill Ireland, the first Rebel football coach, and uber booster Bill “Wildcat” Morris, who did the most to start the Rebel football program. Pearson, the associate athletic director at the time, was the one who started the athletic scholarship program as well as being a force behind the “Grand 100 Club,” which provided most of the financing to begin the football program. He was also a key factor leading to the construction of Las Vegas Stadium, now named Sam Boyd Stadium. What did Pearson call UNLV’s decision to charge $75 for all seats. “Outrageous,” Pearson said. A perfect description.

OK, OK, before I go any further let me look at it from the UNLV perspective. Yes, it was Wisconsin, ranked No. 12 at the time. That is an outstanding, highly-ranked Big Ten team to come to Las Vegas. No question about it. Also, Wisconsin has a great band, for which I would pay extra for to go to the game. But guess what? The Wisconsin band didn’t come this year. Which was a bummer because I couldn’t go to their concerts during the week such as I have in years past at the Fremont Street Experience and in the parking lot behind the Las Vegas Hilton.

Also, almost all athletics departments are having budget problems and the Wisconsin game gave UNLV an opportunity to rake in some needed cash. Given that, I could hold still for a $75 ticket between the 20-yard-lines. Even for the whole sidelines seating to give UNLV the benefit of the doubt. The price of $75 would be a costly ticket even for the sidelines, but it does go to dear old UNLV. But it is the end zone seats that the $75 tickets that I think is totally excessive. Say a family of four wanted to go to the Rebel football opener, that’s $300 for tickets alone before parking and concessions. I say that’s WAY too steep for the average family. How about $45 (or less) for an end zone ticket even for Wisconsin? Give the Rebel faithful a break.

The announced crowd for the Wisconsin game by UNLV was 31,307. When Wisconsin comes to town it’s generally sellout or close. This year it was about 5,500 short of a sellout. A good crowd in general, but not for Wisconsin. Because of the recession, Wisconsin didn’t bring as many fans as usual. But on top of the recession locally, UNLV compounded the problem by charging an arm and a leg for tickets.

Yes, Nevada raised ticket prices for its game against California on Friday night. Reserved seats were $60, which is plenty to pay for the Wolf Pack. But Nevada did have the sense to also have general admission tickets for a more reasonable $30.

I can identify with UNLV. During my 37 years with the Las Vegas Review-Journal,  I covered the first Rebel spring football practice and the first Rebel football game in 1968 at old Cashman Field, which is in the same location as the present Cashman Field. I thought it was historic that I was in the lockerroom before that first game against St. Mary’s to hear the first Rebel pregame pep talk in history, which was emotionally and ably given by Ireland. For what it’s worth, I also covered the first Rebel baseball practice (Hartke Park in North Las Vegas) and the first Rebel baseball game in history.

I would like to hear comments from readers on this question. Please visit my new website at  Do you think that $75 was too much for ALL tickets, including end zone seats,  to the UNLV-Wisconsin game? Or do you think the price was justified? Either way, please comment. I will keep track of the results and let you know. I will also print some comments both ways. Thank you. Please, just keep the comments clean.

I would like to thank Peter Poggione of Squeez Marketing for building my website. Poggione is outstanding in the fields of marketing and public relations.