Nevada has many great college campuses. There are numerous sports teams that bring fans out in droves. However, none seems to be as great as the University of Nevada. They are by far one of Las Vegas’ most prestigious schools and with good reason. They have numerous sports programs for both women and men alike. The UNLV’s athletic teams are clumped into a category and given the name “Rebels.” Each sport gets another name in front of it to distinguish the type of sport. For instance, the baseball team is Hustlin’ Rebels, and the football team is known is the Runnin’ Rebels. This group participates in the NCAA, and other sports associations, with school colors of scarlet and gray. Their longtime rival is the Nevada Wolf Pack, both colleges are highly revered.
The “Hustlin’ Rebels” Baseball Division
The action happens at Roger Barnson Field at the Earl E. Wilson stadium. Rod Soesbe is the coach, and he is in his third year. He has been at the school teaching and coaching for more than 15 years. The stadium was built in 1994 and has been resurfaced in 1997 and again in 2007. It comfortably seats 3,000 people. For the protection of the crowd, a 12-foot fence was added in 2010. They replaced the grass and gave the whole arena a fresh coat of paint. There are plans in the near future to build a new clubhouse. The Hustlin’ Rebels play 60 games per year, 31 will be at home and 29 will be on the road.
Runnin’ Rebels Men’s Basketball
The most decorated team from the UNLV is the basketball division. They used to play on the UNLV campus at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Jerry Tarkanian Court seats 18,776 people, and it has been opened since 1983. In 2000, they received a major overhaul of the stadium. The commemorative court was renamed in 2005. Tarkanian coached this team from 1973-1992. His record was quite impressive with a final tally of 509-105. The former head coach is a legend, and the building is a way to honor him continuously. The Runnin’ Rebels now have a new place to call home. They just moved into the Mendenhall Center. The 38,000 square foot building is by the Cox Pavilion and includes three levels. It is quite a dramatic step-up for the team.
In 1990, the basketball team defeated Duke University. This was a monumental victory with a winning score of 103-73. Their win made them the victor of the NCAA Championship. In 2008, the Runnin’ Rebels ranked #8 of 300 teams for ESPN’s Prestige Ranking. The team has a current value of $12.9 million, and they made a profit of over $8.3 million this year alone. Another fascinating fact is that they hold the record for the most three-pointers made in consecutive games. They have made at least one three-point goal in each game since 1986. This team has also seen great success in the NCAA Tournaments. They have the 7th highest winning percentage around. They have won a total of 25 conference championships, and they have made 17 NCAA Division 1 Tournament appearances. Some of the most famous Rebels include Marcus Banks, Larry Johnson, Reggie Theus, and Greg Anthony. From this winning team, many have gone on to do great things. There has been three Olympians, two Olympic Bronze Medalists, and 12 NBA first round of draft picks.
The Rebels Football team currently plays off of UNLV’s campus at the Sam Boyd Stadium. This arena holds up to 36,800 people. Though it is off campus, it is still owned by the university. Initially called the Las Vegas Silver Bowl, the first stadium was opened for business in 1971. In 1984, the stadium was renamed the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl and then shortened in 1994. The school closed the facility down in 1998 to undergo major renovations. It was reopened in 1999 with that ability to seat 4,800 more people, which was desperately needed. Originally, it could only seat 32,000. They also added luxury suites and more club seats. During the renovations, they switched out the artificial turf to natural grass. A move that made the stadium look and feel much better for players.
This team was in the Division II, then made the jump to Division I-A. Since their rapid promotion, they have had some issues to work through. Though there have been problems, they still remain undefeated in bowl games. In fact, in 1984, they won the California Bowl. They won the Las Vegas Bowl both in 1994 and again in 2000. They have won the Big West Conference a couple times too.
Like in so many areas of the country, the football is really celebrated in this part of Nevada. College football is a crowd-gathering event. The famous rival game between UNLV and the University of Nevada always brings out record selling crowds. The Battle for Nevada game is one that is well anticipated. Some famous football player for the Rebels includes Kenny Mayne, Adam Seward, Ickey Woods, Suge Knight, and Randall Cunningham.
In July of 2010, the football team received a great honor. John Robinson was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first UNLV head coach or player to achieve this studious honor. The campus that the football team practices on, is the largest facility in the country, which is another thing for them to be proud of.
Other Famous Rebel Teams
Though the aforementioned teams are a small selection of what they have to offer, there are many more teams that fall under the classification of the group name “Rebels.” They also have women’s teams and plenty of other sports to enjoy. UNLV has a well-celebrated sports program that allows people with various interest to participate. Though not all their teams are as well promoted and celebrated as the basketball, baseball, and football, they put a great deal of effort in making each team great.