Enjoying a night with the Pack
May 30, 2017
What a great night it was last Wednesday evening when the Nevada Coaches' Caravan and Athletic Director Doug Knuth appeared at the Carson Valley Inn.
He alerted fans to the fact they were about to hear from two of the most high-energy coaches the country. Boy, was he correct!
Not 10 minutes into football coach Jay Norvell's address, I was ready to lace up the cleats, sitting on the edge of my seat as he explained "#Nevada Grit" and the three absolutes in his program: respect, accountability and hustle. It was just so good! Norvell talked about the kinds of offense and defense the Wolf Pack will run this year. Wide open on offense, with a top quarterback and really good wide receivers.
In his introduction, Knuth told the audience, "If you lean over and take a bite out of your sandwich, you may miss a TD (touchdown)." What could be better?
After being named head football coach on Dec. 9, Norvell set out to hire a new staff. One of his first hires was Eric Scott as wide receivers coach. Scott was a surprise to many, but not me. Scott was the head football coach at Los Angeles High School, my alma mater and where I was part of a football team that played for the L.A. city championship in 1960.
I stayed close to the school over the years, was a member of the alumni association and served as a board member of the Harrison Trust. LAHS was going through some tough times and won only one game in 2013 when Scott was hired as head coach. People at the school asked me to speak with the new hire, so I met with coach Scott in the locker room beneath the bleachers. They had only a few uniforms, 11 players and no money. I went over some of the school traditions and suggested that he may want to start from scratch and just teach basic blocking and tackling. Scott smiled and informed me he was going to win the league and then the city championship. I wanted to tell him, "Yeah, coach, and pigs are going to fly!" I left, got in my car and laughed all the way home.
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Six months later, I was sitting in the L.A. Coliseum watching LAHS win the city championship! Amazing! That was one of the great coaching accomplishments in city football history. In two out of three years at LAHS, Scott won two city championships (2014 and 2016) and was runner-up once (2015).
Coach Norvell allowed me to tell that story at Wednesday's meet and greet. It was so much fun!
Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman is another high energy guy. His story describing the team's win this year over New Mexico after being down by 25 points with 11 minutes left was a classic. Inserting Marcus Marshall back into the game with a minute to go in regulation, Musselman said, "I walked with him all the way down to the scorer's table and I said, 'Hey, Marcus, why don't you just go out and try to pad your stats; every time you get the ball, shoot it from as far away as you possibly can.' Marcus looked at me and said, 'Bet. I'll do it.'" The player then hit three, 3-point shots in a row to help the Wolf Pack win. A totally funny story!
Musselman looks about 25-years-old, and he's bringing in some great players. Knuth is doing a terrific job, and there's lots of excitement for Wolf Pack fans.
Editor's note: Joe Hooven is a Carson Valley resident who recently moved from Los Angeles.