RENO — Wolf Pack baseball coach Gary Powers has decided to retire from his position after more than 30 years of service to the University of Nevada, Powers and University of Nevada Director of Athletics Doug Knuth announced Friday.
The announcement came just hours after the Wolf Pack fell to Fresno State in the elimination bracket of the Mountain West Conference.
Powers, a Douglas High School graduate, just finished his 31st year as the head of the Wolf Pack baseball program and finishes his career with a 937-762-5 record. His 937 victories, all coming at the University of Nevada, rank 21st among active NCAA Division I coaches.
In his 31 years of directing the Nevada baseball program, Powers took Wolf Pack teams to four NCAA Regional appearances in 1994, 1997, 1999 and 2000, was named conference coach of the year four times and claimed one Western Athletic Conference championship, two Big West Conference titles and two BWC divisional championships.
He produced 17 All-Americans, 144 all-conference players and five conference players of the year. He also saw 79 of his players drafted by Major League Baseball.
“I feel blessed to have had this opportunity for the past 31 years,” Powers said. “I’m grateful and honored to have been associated with, and want to thank, all the hundreds of players, awesome assistant coaches, support staff and so many loyal fans and supporters I’ve had the pleasure and honor to have work with and met through this time. I, personally and publicly, would like to thank Dick Trachok and Joe Crowley for taking a chance on me 31 years ago in giving me this opportunity. It has been an honor and I wish nothing but the utmost success to the players and coaches that will carry on this program from here.”
Powers returned to his alma mater in 1983 to take over the reins of the Nevada baseball program for which he played in 1970 and 1971 and built the Wolf Pack into a one of the premier baseball programs in the West. Nevada has won 30 or more games in 16 of the last 23 years which includes 43 wins in 1992 and 41 in 1994.
Powers had 19 winning seasons and one .500 campaign in his 30 years, including a .680 winning percentage and three NCAA appearances in the 1990’s. The Pack produced nine winning seasons during the 1990’s, ranking in the top 40 in the decade in winning percentage while playing in one of the top baseball conferences in the country, the Big West.
Powers guided his alma mater to its first-ever 40-win season in 1992 (43-11-1) and duplicated that in 1994 (41-15). He also guided the Pack to the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1994. Nevada qualified for the NCAA Tournament again in 1997 and made back-to-back appearances in 1999 and 2000. In 1999, Nevada went deeper into the NCAA Regionals than ever before, going 2-2 at the Stanford Regional.
“Gary Powers has epitomized dedication to the Wolf Pack baseball program and the University of Nevada over the past 31 years,” Knuth said. “He has built Nevada Baseball into one of the premier programs in the West and leaves a legacy of success and tradition, evidenced by the championships and NCAA appearances his teams earned and the individual accolades his student-athletes have received as well as the success his players have gone on to achieve in professional baseball. I know I speak for the entire community in thanking and congratulating Coach Powers for his service and dedication to the University of Nevada.”
The University of Nevada will conduct a national search for Powers’ replacement.
Powers was a multi-sport standout at Douglas High School in the mid-60s. He tossed a no-hitter for the Tigers in 1965.
His father, Walt, was also a legendary coach in Carson Valley, coaching the Douglas football and basketball teams for many years. Walt Powers brought Friday Night Football to Northern Nevada in 1946 when he organized community members to go out to Hope Valley and cut down trees to serve as light poles. The first Friday night football game in Northern Nevada was played Sept. 27, 1946, in Gardnerville against Lovelock.