Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Here are 773 thoughts — one for each yard UNLV allowed in the 63-28 debacle at Nevada-Reno on Saturday — about Mike Sanford’s tenuous status as Rebels head football coach.
Just kidding. Unlike the Wolf Pack, we’re gonna stop at 15.
1. Somebody should send the Board of Regents the check for Sanford’s $225,000 buyout. They are the ones who ratified his three-year contract extension last year with a rubber stamp.
2. Like Eric the Clown in “Seinfeld,” it would appear Neal Smatresk, the new UNLV president, is going to oversee his athletic department with a big shoe. He could have taken the high road when asked about Sanford’s job status, deflecting inquiries until the end of the season. Instead, he basically said that if the Rebels don’t play better against BYU this week, his big shoe could come to rest on Sanford’s backside sooner than later.
3. Jerry Koloskie, the Rebels’ interim athletic director, didn’t come across quite as businesslike. “If that’s what his thoughts are, certainly I concur with that,” Koloskie said after hearing what his boss had to say. To paraphrase the old quote about Michael Jordan, the last time I saw somebody jump that high was when Mayor Daley asked an alderman to bring him a cup of coffee. But in defense of Koloskie, anybody with “interim” in front of his title must think twice before he speaks.
4. Sanford is making excuses why the Rebels can’t beat BYU on Saturday, citing the median age of the Cougars and that most of them have kids. I might point out that unless there were a bunch of quickie divorces and custody cases that went unreported, that didn’t seem to deter Florida State.
5. I paid $4.99 to the UNR athletic department so I could watch the Internet feed of Saturday’s game. The way I see it, I am more than happy to contribute to the Mike Ball scholarship fund since nobody at UNLV seemed willing when it had first dibs on him. Ball, who rushed for 184 yards and five touchdowns on 15 carries against UNLV, starred at Desert Pines High School but apparently fell through the same crack on the recruiting path that so many other local standouts do when it comes to their hometown school.
6. With UNLV and many of its benefactors strapped for cash, now might be the time to take one more look at dropping the football program and asking the West Coast Conference if it has room for one more. Let the Lon Kruger vs. Mark Few rivalry begin.
7. One more argument for mothballing the program: Do you know that UNLV’s all-time winning percentage in football of .426 ranks 105th among the 120 Division I-A programs? And that record, as putrid as it may be, includes 12-1 and 8-3 seasons during which the Rebels essentially played a Big Sky schedule.
8. The only programs to have experienced more football futility than UNLV are Duke, Iowa State, Rice, Eastern Michigan, Wake Forest, Kent State, Indiana, Kansas State, Tulane, Temple, UTEP, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, New Mexico State and Florida International. And the Prison Guards, who are now 0-2 against the Inmates in “Longest Yard” movies.
9. The best/only reason for not mothballing the program: Potentially, it’s the only sport besides basketball that can generate significant revenue on a college campus.
10. When somebody asked about the type of coach UNLV should pursue, my first thought was it’s too bad Vince Lombardi didn’t have a crazy son who decided to have his old man’s head frozen in a cryonic lab.
11. Seriously, I think UNLV should try the Lon Kruger approach when it comes time to hire a new football coach. Find a proven winner who wants to come to the desert to retire. But not as quickly as John Robinson.
12. Maybe a guy like Dirk Koetter, who built Boise State into a winner, but at Arizona State discovered it’s harder to run the hook-and-lateral play when the other team’s defensive backs do not hail from Pocatello or Coeur d’Alene. Maybe if a guy like that returned to the mid-major level and built another winner, he wouldn’t be so hasty to leave it in his rearview mirror.
13. Oh yeah, Jim Fassel is living here now. He coached in the Super Bowl once. And at Utah.
14. Then there’s always Darwin Rost at Palo Verde High. At least he wouldn’t complain when the other team wears wedding rings and spends its scholarship money on Juicy Juice. Plus, I’ll bet he knows a bunch of local kids who could fill some scholarship openings.
15. Somewhere on the side of a country road in West Virginia, former UNLV athletic director Mike Hamrick must be splitting a gut.