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Ault: Mackay can use some more fans

Ault: Mackay can use some more fans

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

One of Chris Ault’s goals when he returned to the sidelines three years ago was to have Mackay Stadium be a true homefield advantage.

The Pack has played well at Mackay, compiling a 15-3 record the past two seasons, two of those losses coming at the hands of Boise State.

However, the fan attendance hasn’t matched the performance on the field, a fact not lost on Ault at the recent Western Athletic Conference Media Day.

“It’s not where I thought it would be,” Ault said. “We’ve played pretty good football at home. It’s still the hottest thing going. In terms of making Mackay Stadium the place it has to be for homefield advantage, it’s not there yet.”

The only games to top the 20,000 attendance mark since Ault returned were the two games against Boise State (21,799 and 25,506), and UNLV (21,799).

The first BSU game, which was played in 2004, there were probably less than 10,000 in the stadium because of heavy snow that fell the night before the game and deposited six or seven inches of powder across the region.

Nevada needs to create more seating for its students. The students make Lawlor Events Center rock, and they should be able to do the same at Mackay.

CHECKING THE REFS

The Western Athletic Conference does not do huge in-depth background checks before hiring its officials, according to Bobby Dibler, the WAC supervisor of basketball officials.

“What I do before hiring anybody is obviously talk to the people that know the person,” said Dibler last week in the wake of the NBA scandal involving an official who allegedly bet on games.

Dibler checks to see if the applicant’s qualifications stand up, whether the official is gainfully employed, what kind of person the official is and if the official has a criminal record.

Before any official can work a tournament game, the NCAA does a much more

thorough background check. Dibler said that the official has to sign a form allowing the NCAA to do a custodial information check which covers credit information, DMV report, civil litigation and personal background.

Also, officials also have to sign a 12-question paper that deals with gambling.

Dibler said he isn’t sure whether the WAC would initiate its own background checks in lieu of the NBA scandal.

“I don’t know how it would be conducted (if we did),” Dibler said. “You’d have to have some sort of independent agency do that. “It certainly upset the dickens out of me when I heard. It doesn’t matter the level (of game). If you don’t protect the integrity of the game … I’m just praying when everything is resolved that it’s an isolated incident.”

NEVADA PICKED FIFTH

Nevada’s volleyball team was projected to finish fifth in a vote of Western Athletic Conference volleyball coaches.

Nevada, which opens on Aug. 24 at home against the University of Pacific, was 15-15 overall and 9-7 in the WAC last season.

As expected, Hawai’i was the preseason pick to win the conference for the 12th straight year. The Rainbow Wahine garnered eight of the nine first-place votes and 64 total points.

New Mexico State (55 points) was picked to finish No. 2, while San Jose State and Idaho (44 points) tied for third. Nevada was next followed by Boise State (30), Utah State (22), Fresno State (20) and Louisiana Tech (9).

CONTRACT TIME

Former Nevada stars Jeff Rowe and Nick Fazekas signed their first professional contracts last week.

Rowe, a fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, signed a four-year deal worth more than $1.5 million. Rowe will earn approximately $275,000 the first year assuming he remains with the team. He is currently the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

Fazekas, the 34th overall pick in the NBA Draft, signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks. Terms were not announced, but the league minimum for rookies is $427,000.

Fazekas, a power forward, recently finished a three-game stint in the Rocky Mountain Revue, averaging 13 points and three rebounds a game.

HAWAI’I PAIR HONORED

Hawai’i quarterback Colt Brennan and Rainbow Wahine volleyball star Kanoe Kamana’o were the 2007 recipients of the Joe Kearney Award.

The award is named after the former WAC commissioner, and is annually given to the top male and female athletes in the WAC.

Brennan broke 20 NCAA records last season, 17 WAC records and 31 school records. He threw for 58 touchdowns and 5,549 yards, and led the Warriors to an 11-3 season and a Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl win over Arizona State.

Nevada’s Fazekas, who won the award in 2005, was Nevada’s male nominee. Kamana’o, who won the award last season, ranks seventh in NCAA history in assists with 6,428 and eighth in assists per game, 13.62. She is a four-time all-WAC performer and a three-time WAC Player of the Year.

Track star Kali Baker was Nevada’s female nominee.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775)

881-1281.