Quietly, yet intently, the man watched Tuesday afternoon while the Douglas Tigers and Damonte Ranch Mustangs locked horns in what promised to be a hard-fought Northern Division I baseball game.
Gary Powers has spent a good part of his lifetime watching baseball, however, this is his first spring as a retiree after serving 31 seasons (1983-2013) as head baseball coach at the University of Nevada. Make no mistake about it, he still enjoys watching and evaluating a game he has been involved with since his own days growing up in Carson Valley.
“No, not really,” Powers replied when asked if his visit was work-related. “Mostly, I’m helping out … watching kids who are playing for guys I used to coach.”
Powers glanced across the field toward the Damonte Ranch dugout — assistant coaches Gary McNamara and Stew Colton formerly had ties to the Nevada Wolf Pack baseball program — as does John Glover, who stood in the third base coaching box as an assistant for Douglas.
“Gary McNamara was my assistant coach (1998-2000),” Powers noted. “I didn’t coach Stew (1973-74), but I recruited him to Nevada when I was a graduate assistant helping Keith Loper.”
Glover played for Powers at Nevada from 1997-2000, although most of his time was spent as a bullpen catcher.
“It’s good to see John coaching again ... he belongs out there,” Powers said of Glover. “He knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to coach and he put in the time it took to learn the game.”
At Nevada, Glover said he had an opportunity to learn “from some great baseball men” during a stretch when the Wolf Pack won two division titles (1997-98) and one the Big West Conference title (2000).
“Coach Powers had a big influence on my life,” Glover said. “He provided a great atmosphere to learn how to play the game the right way.”
Powers said he had the same opportunity when he played baseball at Nevada under coach Jackie Jensen.
“I was very fortunate to have an experience like that,” he said. “How many guys get a chance to play for someone who played in the bigs like he did (1950-61, American League MVP in 1958 for the Boston Red Sox)?”
After spending time as a football and baseball graduate assistant for the Wolf Pack, Powers coached the high school programs at Incline and Wooster, followed by a stint as head coach at Shasta College (Redding, Calif.) before taking over at Nevada. Powers compiled a 937-762-5 career record at Nevada and was honored as conference coach of the year four times.
Before that Powers was a multi-sport athlete at Douglas, where he graduated in 1966, and went on to become a two-year starting pitcher at Nevada in 1970-71.
“It’s always nice to come back down here,” Powers said of his visit to Minden. “I don’t make it as often as I’d like. The nice thing, when I go somewhere now, it’s because I want to go, not because I have to.”