Local hoop coach enjoys ownership role with Bighorns
Gary Schulz can be considered something of an unofficial liasion for the Reno Bighorns in Carson City.
As a minority owner of the National Basketball Association Development League expansion franchise, Schulz said he doesn’t really want to be involved in the team’s inner workings. “Day to day basketball operations, I let the professionals do that,” said Schulz, who lives in Carson City and also coaches the Carson High freshmen girls basketball team.
But Schulz also realizes that if anyone in the Carson City area wants to know anything about the Bighorns, chances are he’s the one they’ll go to.
“The Bighorns aren’t some large corporation,” he said.
When commenting on his responsibilities with the Bighorns, Schulz said a “big part is customer service. My phone number’s in the book.”
Schulz owns four percent of the Bighorns. The NBA wants all D-League franchises to have 20 to 24 percent local ownership, so Schulz is one of six area owners who have a four percent interest in the Bighorns.
Schulz became involved with the Bighorns through his relationship with former University of Nevada men’s basketball assistant coach Jason Glover and Ethan O’Bryant. Glover and O’Bryant went on to establish the Nevada Basketball Academy, which forms Amateur Athletic Union girls and boys teams. Glover is now an assistant coach with the Bighorns and O’Bryant serves as the team’s director of community relations.
Through the involvment that Schulz has with the team, the Bighorns have had two events in Carson City so far. In October, the team had a well-attended reception at Bodine’s and last month just three days before the team’s season opener, the Bighorns held a workout at Carson High’s Morse Burley Gym.
Schulz said he’s happy with how the team has operated so far.
“I’m very pleased,” Schulz said. “They’ve got a wonderful staff. They do a wonderful job.”
There were three reasons why Schulz got involved with the Bighorns, he said. The first he said was “just being a basketball fan. Basketball’s a great game to play and an exciting game to watch.
The second reason Schulz said was his relationship with Glover and O’Bryant.
“That was a big reason, workinig with people you know,” said Schulz, who added it’s also nice to be working with people who know the game of basketball.
And third, the D-League’s and NBA’s commitment to community service such as organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Schulz actually comes from a baseball background. He played baseball at the University of Arizona from 1978 to 1981 and was a member of the 1980 national championship team.
“To be perfectly honest with you I was the mop up man,” said Schulz about his role as a relief pitcher. Schulz said he only came into games when Arizona was far behind or far ahead. “It was my job to eat up some innings.”
Schulz went on to coach high school baseball in Arizona and he said “people want to know why I’m all basketball now.”
But Schulz is committed to the Bighorns and sees a similarity between his freshmen team and the D-League club.
“I’ve got 12 players that want to play varsity,” Schulz said. “They’ve got 10 players that want to sign contracts with NBA teams.”
The Bighorns, who are off to a 1-3 start, return home on Friday at 7 p.m. to face the Anaheim Arsenal at the Reno Events Center. Schulz said he was extremely pleased with the home opener on Nov. 29.
“Everything went off like it should have except we didn’t win the game,” said Schulz commenting on the 98-93 loss to the Bakersfield Jam. “Otherwise it was a great evening. It’s good family entertainment ” or good affordable family entertainment,”