Mike Shrader has been coaching swimming for 21 years, including six at Nevada, and his most memorable moment came approximately a week ago when he was named as an assistant coach for Team USA for the 2005 Wolrd Games in Montreal, Canada.
"I was really honored," said Shrader, who knew he was a potential candidate for the position. "I was pleasantly surprised.
"The Lord has blessed me with working with a lot of good, young people. I've really enjoyed working here."
It's a well-deserved honor. Shrader has guided the women's squad to a 59-11 dual-meet record since coming to Nevada from SMU six years ago. The Wolf Pack finished third in the WAC last season. Nevada won the Big West title in 2002.
Shrader will head the open water squad, which includes 5,10 and 25-kilometer races. The swimmers will train for a few days in Lake Placid, N.Y. before leaving for Montreal. He will be with Team USA from July 9-24.
"Swimmers cross over and do a lot of things," Shrader said from his office on the Reno campus. "This is the toughest part because you are dealing with the elements - the water temperature, waves and lack of visibility. It's all tough."
No doubt Shrader will handle his new assignment with the same positive approach that Nevada swimmers have been treated to the past six years. Shrader runs one of the most successful programs on campus, and after talking to him just a couple of times, you can see why he is so respected by his student-athletes.
He radiates positive thinking and his morals are beyond reproach. He loves his job at Nevada even though his facility isn't the greatest and it's a tough place to recruit from because of the facility and weather.
"I love it here," Shrader said. "Everybody has treated me great. It's a wonderful place to work. I had a great boss in Chris Ault for five years and I've worked with Cary Groth for a little over a year, and she's a great asset for the university.
"I really have to search (for swimmers). Some are interested. Some aren't interested. To me, Reno is a great place to live. It has a lot to offer.
"Facility-wise, we don't have a great facility. It makes it tough to recruit at times. There are schools that have an indoor pool and an outdoor pool. We don't have a 50-meter (outdoor or indoor) pool. That makes a difference to some swimmers."
That's about all you will get Shrader to say on the subject. He is truthful, but he won't dwell on negatives. He does his utmost to make the best out of any situation. It's his nature and the way he's always done things.
It doesn't mean that he doesn't yell at his swimmers. He admits there are times when you have to be a yeller and screamer. Those times are few and far between.
The Nevada team is Shrader's second family. He loves to see them excel in the water, and he loves to see them excel in the classroom and in life. The Pack earned Academic All-American team honors in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
He gets extremely excited to get a wedding invitation and a birth announcement. He's also happy to see former swimmers land full-time jobs like Alyssa Chin did.
Chin, according to Shrader, got into Nevada on a special admit. Not only was she a two-year capatin for the Pack, but she graduated on time with a B average. She landed a job with Channel 4 in Reno after she graduated.
It's those type of success stories that are gratifying to Shrader. It's those kind of kids that make Shrader want to come back every day.
He is a prized jewel for Nevada.
Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281