Don’t look at me like that.
I know who they were. Tark the Shark, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, Anderson Hunt, and Grandmama.
But what have they done for us lately?
I’ll tell you what they’ve done for us lately. They went into a packed United Spirit Arena in Lubbock on December 28th, 2006 and choked the life out of Bob Knight’s Happy New Year. His quest for a record-setting 880 Division 1 wins will be held over to 2007, and for that, the majority of us are truly thankful.
So, who the hell are they these days? We know they play on Jerry Tarkanian floor at the Thomas & Mack Center, and the sheer graft and chutzpah that must have gone into making that possible would make even the Vegas strip blush. They are currently 15-2, with the Lubbock victory the most impressive thing in the win column. A loss at Arizona is understandable, but dropping one to UC-Santa Barbara at home is a head-scratcher.
Anyway, they appear to be a program on the rise, and much of that can be attributed to a familiar coaching face:
- Had 20-win squads at Pan-American, Kansas State, Illinois, and Florida. Took the last three to the NCAA tournament often. Tarnished that achievement by coaching the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
- Thought coaching the Rebs would be fun, because the mascot looks like Yosemite Sam, his favorite cartoon character.
- Never, ever gambles on the strip, but has been known to stash extra dinner rolls in his pockets at the early bird buffet.
- Was born in Silver Lake, Kansas, but admits the lake was more of a shallow, muddy crawdad hole.
- Named for raconteur and game-show legend Wink Martindale.
- Is from Houston, Texas. Hates it when people pronounce it “You-ston”.
- Ate some bad cheese the day his official media guide photo was taken.
- At 6’8″, 245lbs, is believed to be the first man named Gaston never to have had his ass kicked.
- Majoring in University Studies with an emphasis in French. Way to stretch your horizons, there, Essengue.
- Is originally from Yaounde, Cameroon. Doesn’t mind the daytime temperatures in Vegas because “it’s a dry heat”.
- Is an academic all-star, with a better than 3.0 gpa. Still, I have to ask – what the hell are University Studies?
- Transferred from Antelope Valley College, where he no doubt majored in Community College Studies.
- Once made it to the center of a tootsie roll pop in 175 licks.
- Finally, a real major! Kinesiological Sciences! Wait, doesn’t that mean he’s majoring in Phys Ed?
- Full name is Michael Daniel Chuckwuma Umeh. Likes the triple nickname Mike Dan Chuck.
- Is kind of annoyed that Lon doesn’t allow hot-tubbing with boosters like they did back in Tark’s day.
- Has already graduated from Arizona State, but transferred for one last year with good old Dad. Sounds like one of the assistant coaches better start polishing his resume.
So there you have them. Your UNLV Running Rebels. Not nearly as fun and colorful as in years past, yet still we thank them for serving The General his post-Christmas slice of humble pie.
I kid because I love here at Extrapolater. However, I do have a site dedicated to getting the straight dope about colleges across America, called College Rule Notebook. If you’d like to set me straight, take the quick survey. We’ll dig up links & photos to illustrate your answers.