Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 | 2:09 a.m.
The list of Dr. Neal Smatresk’s achievements in three months as UNLV’s president is impressive. In his office early Friday morning, he hinted at something major around the corner in athletics.
But he didn’t exactly say athletics.
“I’ll hint to you that there’s a very big donation in the offing, right now, that I’m not quite ready to announce,” he said. “We’ve got to hammer out some details, but it’s big.”
Regarding athletics or an athletic team?
“Maybe,” he said. “I’ve got to tease you a little.”
“It’s something that will help put us on the map and raise our recruiting profile,” he said. “I’m excited about it. Those types of things don’t happen unless people feel good about the university, about athletics.”
Would it involve a sport with a round ball and a practice facility?
Sixth-year Rebels basketball coach Lon Kruger has been talking about such a facility for his team with private entities, on and off, for about three years.
A few weeks ago, the UNLV hoops squad was relegated to practicing for two days in a gym at Sunset and Las Vegas Boulevard South because every facility on campus was booked.
“Oh boy, I don’t know,” said Smatresk, smiling. “I hear that almost anything is possible.”
Would that be warm?
“Maybe warm,” Smatresk said. “I’ll just better leave it at that … I know a lot of the kinds of discussions, happenings, and hopes and dreams of coaches have been shared widely with many people.”