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Ernie Baer

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About Ernie Baer

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    UNLV

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  1. No doubt two great coaches passed. Never met Jerry Sloan but always admired his work as a player and coach. In particular, to make the playoffs as many consecutive years as the Jazz did speaks to how good of a coach Sloan was. Got to know Eddie Sutton some as he was one of Jerry Tarkanian’s better friends in the coaching profession. Eddie was the guy that began the College of Southern Idaho’s ascent to one of the better JC programs. He parlayed that into becoming the head coach at Creighton. Probably the first time I remember hearing his name was when he directed 6-11 Nate Stephens to Jerry when he was at Long Beach State prior to the 71-72 season. Jerry was surprised why Sutton would want to lose a talented big man like Stephens. Sutton claimed Nate didn’t like the cold winters. Jerry rather quickly learned the real reason was Nate had lets says some issues, and that was the real reason Sutton was glad to see him out of the program. I learned then how persuasive Sutton could be. My favorite Eddie Sutton story was how he got the Kentucky job. At the time there was a guy named Joe Dean who ran Converse and was Sonny Vacarro in the grassroots world before Sonny came along. He was quite influential. Sutton was at Arkansas at the time and was a Nike coach, but was very interested in the job. He called up Dean and told him if he could get him an interview at Kentucky and he got the job Kentucky would wear Converse forever. Dean got him an interview and obviously Sutton got the job. Not too long after it was announced Dean was on his way to Lexington to cut the shoe deal. When he arrived he found out a fast one was pulled on him as Sutton had already cut a deal with Sonny and Nike. Jerry and Eddie had their ups and downs. When everything went down with Chris Mills at Kentucky I remember Eddie accused UNLV or UCLA of being behind the payments and Jerry wasn't happy about it. They rather quickly patched things up. After leaving Kentucky, Sutton went to work at Nike as a consultant. I remember he came out during pre-season practice during the championship season to observe practice. Shortly after winning the national title Jerry had to fly out to Oklahoma to film the “Shark on Offense”, “Shark on Defense” instructional videos. While there Jerry publicly endorsed Sutton for the Oklahoma State job. In some irony, Oklahoma State and Sutton played Jerry during his final season at Fresno State where the Bulldogs knocked off a ranked OSU in a defensive battle at Selland Arena. Was nice visiting with him before the game.
  2. Pokes had a great run with two big upsets, but we wanted that game against UCLA bad. When the 87 brackets were revealed there was quite a bit of excitement over the potential of finally playing UCLA. I remember Jack Haley talking some trash after the pairings were announced saying how the Bruins would love to run into UNLV. Following their loss to Wyoming and the Rebels beating Kansas State, Eldridge Hudson said, “we held up our end of the bargain.”
  3. But the “smartest “ person on the board told us we didn’t know what we were talking about. Guess they spoke to the wrong assistant coach.
  4. The thing you have to ask when it comes to older established coaches such as in Pitino’s situation, especially when they take a step down in competition, is how much fire do they have left in them? So many of them are coming from situations where they had everything in place. While they weren’t necessarily coasting, they weren’t working as hard, did not have the the same fire in them ,they had in their 30s, 40s, early to mid 50s. And given the infrastructure they had in place in those jobs they didn’t have to, things became easier. Jerry was the first to admit when he was at Fresno he didn’t have the energy to put in the hours he did back in the 70’s and 80’s. Plus when you get into your 60’s and older (speak from experience) you have ailments to worry about, grand kids, etc. For example he used to enjoy recruiting for a good portion of his career. When he was at Fresno, especially in later years, he genuinely despised it. Time will tell, but given Pitino has spent the past couple of seasons coaching in Greece instead of in FL hanging out at his pool enjoying drinks with umbrellas in them, he still seems to have a good amount of fire in him.
  5. Certainly not a surprise given his connection to the previous regime. Do think he could have turned into a good role player, glue guy. Seemed willing to do some of the not so glorious things (rebound, defend) that teams need to be successful.
  6. Given the NCAA baggage and potential show cause was not going to happen at UNLV given its administration's mindset on those matters. Going to be very interesting to see how this plays out. I don't doubt he will hire a quality staff, a lot of young up and comers will want to work for him. He'll win big there and their athletic department will be swimming in cash that they've never seen before. But at his age if he is slapped with a decent show cause their administration, or any that hired him, are going to have to answer a lot of questions.
  7. Why? Marvin is like option 30 for them. Right now they are throwing cash at Randy Bennett.
  8. That was a great one. The Lou Kelly vs. Reuben Douglas battle. Although fairly meaningless, Dalron Johnson's half court shot to beat Wyoming early in MWC history was an entertaining contest with a wild finish. The crazy comeback late in Kruger's first season to beat SDSU in OT.
  9. A lot of speculation growing Pitino is going to be the next coach of Iona. Interesting as I do not believe the NCAA has ruled on his show clause. That is ultimately the biggest risk in hiring him, especially at his age.
  10. Pitino definitely would take a job for only a modest salary. Making money isn't the objective at this point, he just wants another opportunity.
  11. Exactly, he is offensively a detriment in this scheme. For this offense to reach its peek you need bigs who can pass and have a face up game, particularly from distance to open up driving lanes. Enjoy the energy he plays with but Diong needs to be a rotational player as opposed to seeing significant minutes. Hoping to see a grad transfer big brought is who is a better fit.
  12. Will be interesting to see how the turnover pans out over time. If this becomes a core group that leads the program into NCAA appearances, strong MWC finishes, then obviously worth it. Specific to success for next season though it raises valid questions getting this number of new players to gel, and for any at-large bid, gel very quickly.
  13. Certainly some positive take aways from the season, record aside. In particular it appears the program has a head coach who is willing to go the extra mile to install discipline and hold players accountable if he feels they are not meeting expectations. Was also nice to see the program playing its best basketball at seasons end for the first time in a good while. That said, the one major disappointment is once again going through another significant roster reconstruction. Complained about it during Rice’s time, Marvin’s stay so will maintain consistent on the importance of seeing a core group of players stick around and grow together. While I understand it as the first class was thrown together quickly, hopefully this incoming large class is the last time we will see this kind of roster overall for a while. Given these are not a bunch of 5 star, top 50 types, imperative for both they and the program's sake they stick around and the staff coaches them up as time moves forward. Whole heartedly agree about how all the new faces could make for a rocky beginning in the OOC next season. The summer trip will help to an extent but no substitute for going against D-1 competition. For the talk from some of an NCAA appearance, a lackluster record in the OOC in a league like the MWC will make an at large unlikely. Personally still not looking at post season expectations until season 3, unless the unexpected occurs and Jenkins, Hardy and Hamilton are on the roster and they gel together.
  14. Great game. Merrill was ridiculous in the second half. Really impressive given how many minutes he logged over the tournament. 2 teams from the MWC make it after all.
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