Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 9:15 a.m.
He’s still in the middle of his career. And, if all goes according to plan, UNLV baseball coach Tim Chambers will add more to his impressive list of achievements.
But Chambers has already impacted the Las Vegas area sports scene enough, being recognized today for his contributions by being one of five selected for the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.
Chambers started the baseball program at the College of Southern Nevada in 1999, bringing top local talent to the junior college in quickly building a national powerhouse. In 2003, in the program’s fourth year, it won the National Junior College World Series.
“It was humbling,” Chambers, 49, said. “You usually go into those things at the end of your career, and I feel like we have another 20 years left.”
Led by Bryce Harper, CSN returned to the World Series in 2010, which was Chambers’ last season before leaving for UNLV.
He’s built the UNLV program slowly but surely, winning 37 games last season (the most wins at UNLV since 2004) and this season the Rebels (16-7 overall) are ranked No. 25 nationally and in first place of the Mountain West.
The community has taken notice — attendance is at an all-time high.
“I’m super proud of where our team is right now,” Chambers said. “We are going to get this thing rockin.”
Chambers started coaching at Bishop Gorman High in his 20s, helping the Gaels reach the playoffs for the first time in nearly four decades of fielding a team. With Chambers as head coach from 1991-99, Gorman won six straight Sunset championship. He also coached them to the American Legion World Series.
He was just getting started.
The baseball program at CSN was the state’s first junior college athletic team. At UNLV, some feel it’s only a matter of time until the Rebels, which have never played in the College World Series, make a postseason splash.
Going into the Hall of Fame, however, isn’t necessarily all about the wins. It’s about relationship and giving players the tools they need to become productive members of Las Vegas after they stop playing.
Just last week, Chambers attended the 40th birthday party of a former player.
“When they told me (about the hall of fame), I actually cried. My wife was sitting there with me,” Chambers said. “Everyone always wants to talk about baseball, baseball. But it’s more than that. I pride myself in changing lives and helping these kids. When they come back to a game and embrace you, that’s what it’s all about.”
The rest of the class includes: drag racing legend Ken Black, motocross star and Green Valley High graduate Carey Hart, the Herbst Family and former UNLV All-American golfer Chris Riley. Including the Class of 2014, the Hall of Fame now consists of 84 inductees.
Terrible Herbst Motorsports is one of the most successful within SCORE and Best in the Desert with wins in the Tecate 250, Baja 500 and the fabled Baja 1000.
“The class of 2014 represents a diverse group of Southern Nevadans who have accomplished great things in the Las Vegas community,” Hall of Fame Chairman Jeff Motley said in a statement. “Through competition, coaching and team management, they all have made major contributions to sports in the Las Vegas area. We are thrilled to bestow upon them the state’s highest sports honor in welcoming them to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.”
The induction ceremony is May 30 at the Orleans Arena.