Coaching basketball is a labor of love for Bighorns’ Glover
RENO – The name Jason Glover is synonymous with basketball in the Silver State.
The 47-year-old Glover coached at Rancho High School in his hometown of Las Vegas, was an assistant coach at the University of Nevada under Pat Foster for six years, started the Nevada Basketball Academy and is now beginning his second season as Jay Humphries’ top assistant and director of basketball operations with the Nevada Bighorns.
“The NBA game is so much different from the college game,” Glover said during the Bighorns’ recent Media Day. “I’m surprised at how much I’ve learned about the NBA game and from Jay (Humphries).
“When I used to watch the NBA, I’d just see 1-on-1. There is so much more to it offensively and defensively; especially on defense because of the defensive rules.”
As Humphries pointed out, coaching in the NBA is not something you learn overnight. The Bighorns’ head coach also marvels at Glover’s ability to multi-task.
“He wears a couple of different hats,” said Bighorns head coach Jay Humphries. “Sometimes I don’t know how it all gets done.
“I think he’s eagerly learning a different game. He’s done a great job, period. He was a college coach, and the NBA game is very different. His experience in personal training and individual development is great.”
It was that ability to develop individual talent that almost landed Glover a job with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. The T-Wolves’ owner, David Kahn, who was also the Bighorns’ original owner, invited Glover for a job interview.
About five weeks ago, he was flown back to Minnesota to meet with the Timberwolves’ coaching staff of Kurt Rambis, Bill Laimbeer and Reggie Theus, who Glover knew from his ballboy days at UNLV.
“I was one of three guys,” Glover said. “They brought me in for the fifth coaching spot. I really didn’t know what they wanted.”
Glover was asked to put several players through individual workouts, something which he loves doing. Glover didn’t land the job, but said it was a positive experience.”
“Everybody’s goal out there is to go to the next level; being able to move on,” Humphries said. “Jason is going to have opportunities (in the future), but I don’t know what they will be. He would be a great assistant in the NBA. He would be a great college (head) coach.”
Basketball has been in Glover’s blood since his junior high school days in Las Vegas. That’s not surprising considering he was good friends with the Tarkanian family.
“Danny Tarkanian was one of my best friends growing up in Las Vegas,” Glover said. “I grew up in their house; ate a lot of meals over there.
“He went to Gorman and I went to Western, and we always competed against each other. We still talk every week or so. He (Jerry Tarkanian) was great; very pleasant to be around and very charming. He was into his kids.”
Glover ended up being one of the ballboys on the 1977 team that included Theus, Eddie Owens, Glen Gondrezick, Robert Smith, Sam Smith, Tony Smith and Lewis Brown. The team reached the 1977 Final Four, losing 84-83 to North Carolina. Glover was a ballboy for that squad.
Glover went to Grand Canyon on a baseball scholarship, and after graduation in 1985, he returned to Las Vegas and started coaching high school basketball. He attended clinics and worked camps at UNLV, and the elder Tarkanian was very free with his advice.
“i was just hanging around all the time,” Glover said. “I sort of got hooked. Everything was about basketball with coach Tarkanian. I was fortunate to learn the game from one of the very best. Tark made calls for me and recommended me for jobs.”
Another UNLV coach, Tim Grgurich, also had a big impact on Glover’s coaching career. Grgurich, who is currently with the Denver Nuggets, specializes in individual workouts.
“His (Grgurich) work ethic with players is great,” Glover said. “He’d bring a couple of T-shirts to wear during practice, and he’d go through them. He wasn’t just one of those guys that would stand around or just pass the ball. He was really into footwork. One thing I really study is how a player’s feet are balanced.”
Glover eventually caught on at Dixie State, and that’s how he got the attention of Nevada coach Pat Foster.
“We were 30-3 in my third year at Dixie State (in 1992),” Glover said. “He’d heard about me. I drove over to Vegas and met with Pat, and he offered me a job. It was a good opportunity coming to Reno.”
Glover stayed on with Foster for six years. Nevada posted a 90-81 record in the span, including a 21-10 record in the 1996-97 season and a Big West championship. The team, led by Farron Hand, also went to the NIT that year.
Foster was let go after an 8-18 record in the 1998-99 season, which included a season-ending five-game losing streak.
“I talked with Trent (Johnson) when he took over at Nevada, but he decided to bring his own guys in,” Glover said.
Glover said he was offered several jobs after he left Nevada, but opted to stay in town and pursue other ventures.
“I was divorced at the time, and the kids lived here (with their mother),” Glover said. ” It was pursue a college career or watch the kids grow up. It wasn’t a tough decision.”
Glover’s son, Jordan, is a junior at Reno High. Jason wanted to wait until his kids had graduated before leaving the area. He almost had to go back on his word when the Minnesota job opportunity presented itself.
For now, Glover is happy to be in Reno doing what he loves to do.