Rebels - 25 Years At Thomas & Mack
Nov. 14, 2008
LAS VEGAS - UNLV men's basketball will celebrate 25 years of playing in the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday, Nov. 18, when the Runnin' Rebels play host to Texas-Pan American at 7 p.m.
On Nov. 21, 1983, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels played their first game - an exhibition game - at the new Thomas & Mack Center. Almost 25 years to the day later, UNLV will pay a tribute to 1983 by turning back the clock with select elements of the evening.
The evening will highlighted by the half-time performance of "Runnin' Rebel Fever" by George Dare. The song, "Runnin' Rebel Fever" - which was known as the UNLV basketball anthem during the late '80s and early '90s craze - was written by Dare, a nationally-known music producer, singer, songwriter and performer. He began writing the lyrics in the winter of 1983, inspired by UNLV's first-ever No. 1 ranking early in the year.
Dare moved to Las Vegas 20 years ago after winning a national competition to write the musical advertising campaign for the City of Las Vegas, titled "Las Vegas, No One Does It Better." His musical compositions and singing voice have also been used in such campaigns as "It's A Good Time, For the Great Taste of McDonald's" and the "Spirit" campaign for Chevrolet.
Dare has not only written and performed a number of theme songs since he began his career, but has put an extreme emphasis on using the power of music to make a difference and motivate others. He is involved with many national organizations, including: D.A.R.E, MADD - Mother's Against Drunk Drivers, SADD - Students Against Drunk Drivers and many others, using songs to educate and inspire.
He has performed numerous times in front of Rebel fans at the Thomas & Mack Center and he said he is thrilled to be back to help kick off an exciting season.
"Hopefully, those 'Runnin' Rebel Basketball' and 'Runnin' Rebel Fever' song fans will hear about this upcoming halftime performance and come out to celebrate a time in sports history that will never be forgotten, especially by those of us that were there," Dare said. "I'm looking forward to another history-making team, thanks to UNLV's great choice in selecting Lon Kruger as head coach. Yes, I am excited about performing at the Thomas & Mack Center, but I'm even more excited about our great team."
Additional music from 1983 and special videos will also help celebrate 25 years of playing at the Thomas & Mack.
To make the celebration even more interesting, 25 years ago Kruger was in his first stint as a college head coach at Texas-Pan American, the opponent for the evening's game.
At Texas-Pan American in the early 1980s, Kruger established himself as one of the nation's best young coaches when he guided a major turnaround in the program. Before Kruger arrived, the Broncs had won only five games in 1982. After seven wins in his first season, Kruger's squad posted double-digit wins in three straight seasons, including a 20-8 record in his final campaign (1985-86). Now, Kruger and the Runnin' Rebels will take on his former school in the second of four games of Opening Week that kick off the 2008-09 season.
Texas-Pan American finished the 2007-08 season as a strong independent squad (no conference affiliation). The Broncs were 7-1 against other independent teams last year and finished the season 18-13 overall.
The Runnin' Rebels open the 2008-09 season on Saturday, Nov. 15, against San Diego at 2:30 p.m. After Texas-Pan American comes to town, UNLV continues Opening Week as it hosts Northern Arizona on Thursday and North Carolina A&T on Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Thomas & Mack Center, with both games beginning at 7 p.m.
For ticket information, call 702-739-FANS (3267), visit unlvtickets.com or the Thomas & Mack Center ticket office.