Darrell Moody: Wolf Pack teams need more support | NevadaAppeal.com

Darrell Moody: Wolf Pack teams need more support

Darrell Moody

Reno isn’t a college town and is never going to be when it comes to supporting its athletic teams.

I knew that when I covered Nevada athletics from 2002 to 2007. The basketball teams made several NCAA appearances thanks to guys like Nick Fazekas, Ramon Sessions, Kevinn Pinkney and Garry Hill-Thomas. Yet only rarely did the Lawlor Events Center fill up to capacity.

Football? Even worse. Boise State and UNLV were about the only games that were well attended during my coverage span. Nevada officials used to blame the lack of name recognition in the WAC for the lack of attendance. Really? The attendance hasn’t been that great since the team went to the Mountain West Conference.

This just isn’t a city that cares about its college teams.

That point was driven home last week when I attended the New Mexico-Fresno State basketball game at the Pit in Albuquerque. Fresno State came in with a 5-9 record, and the Bulldogs certainly don’t have any big-name players, yet the game drew 14,000. Nevada has averaged 4,992 fans per game this season at Lawlor.

New Mexicans care about their basketball, win or lose. The program has had a long history of success, and the patrons come from all different age groups. Young and old, fans come out in droves, and they are loud. They are a rabid and passionate group, and that’s fun to see.

Nevada’s attendance has dwindled considerably in recent years, and that’s a direct correlation to the win-loss record. The Pack has put sub-standard teams on the floor ever since coach David Carter’s second season at the helm. He won 20-plus games the first season, but it’s been downhill ever since.

•••

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, I applaud the move to the Mountain West Conference for football. But I would have liked to see the Pack go to the Big West for other sports.

Being in the Big West really could have opened up the LA and San Diego recruiting market for sports like baseball and softball, especially. Basketball and football already do a great job recruiting in Southern California.

The baseball program enjoyed its best years when it played in the Big West. Former coach Gary Powers recruited well there, because kids who didn’t get picked up by Long Beach State, UC Irvine and Cal-State Fullerton could sign with Nevada, knowing they would be playing road games back where they grew up.

•••

I have to laugh when I look at some of the guys the 49ers are even considering for their head job.

Rex Ryan? Are you kidding me? Mike Shanahan? Kyle Shanahan?

The 49ers have the best candidate currently under contract, and that’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Fangio took a unit that was decimated by injuries to starting linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, and Aldon Smith’s suspension, and made it into one of the best units in the National Football League.

Defense wasn’t the reason the 49ers missed the playoffs en route to an 8-8 season. The finger needs to be pointed at the offense. Quite simply, Colin Kaepernick didn’t get it done consistently under center, and let’s face it, the NFL is a quarterback driven league.

Fangio deserves a shot, and I know the players would prefer somebody in house take over. It always makes for a smoother transition.Will it happen? I doubt it. Jed York doesn’t have a lot of football acumen, and that shows when you get rid of a guy who is 27 games ABOVE .500 in four years.