The Wheel for May 23, 2019

by May 23, 2019The Wheel0 comments

The Wheel

Coach T.J. Otzelberger – UNLV Basketball Runnin Rebels

Tj Otzelberger Bio PicT.J. Otzelberger became the 14th full-time head coach in UNLV men’s basketball history on March 27, 2019.

Otzelberger came to UNLV after serving as head coach at South Dakota State University for three seasons (2016-19), leading the Jackrabbits to two NCAA Tournaments and one NIT appearance.

Otzelberger (“OTTS-ell-BURGER”) lifted the program at South Dakota State to new heights, where he compiled an overall record of 70-33, led the Jackrabbits to three straight postseason appearances, clinched the outright regular-season Summit League title the past two seasons, and earned the conference’s Coach of the Year honors.

Under Otzelberger, the Jackrabbits were one of the top offensive teams in the nation, ranking in the top 10 among all NCAA teams in scoring during the last two seasons: 2017-18 (7th), 2018-19 (5th).

Prior to SDSU, Otzelberger served two separate stints as an assistant coach at Iowa State, covering eight seasons. He began his first tour in Ames in 2006 under then-head coach Greg McDermott and was later elevated to associate head coach in 2010 by then-head coach Fred Hoiberg. The 2011-12 Iowa State squad achieved a top-25 national ranking for the first time in seven years and defeated defending national champion Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament en route to 23 wins.

Following the 2012-13 season, Otzelberger moved on to the University of Washington for two years, where he served as associate head coach on then-head coach Lorenzo Romar’s staff. The Huskies were ranked as high as No. 11 during the 2014-15 season and Otzelberger played a key role in putting together a top-10 nationally ranked recruiting class.

Otzelberger returned to Iowa State in the spring of 2015 as an assistant coach. As a member of Steve Prohm’s staff, he helped lead the Cyclones to a 23-12 overall record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16. The Cyclones were ranked in the top 25 throughout the 2015-16 season and reached the Sweet 16 before falling to top-seeded Virginia in the regional semifinals.

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Otzelberger, 41, earned a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he played collegiately and was a two-year team captain. His coaching career started at Burlington Catholic Central High School in Wisconsin before spending one season at Chipola JC in Florida.

Otzelberger is married to Alison Lacey, a former Iowa State standout who also played for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. The couple has three children, Jayce, Olivia and Stella.


2019-        UNLV Head Coach

2016-19    South Dakota State Head Coach

2015-16    Iowa State Assistant Coach

2013-15    Washington Associate Head Coach

2010-12    Iowa State Associate Head Coach

2006-10    Iowa State Assistant Coach

2004-05    Chipola College (Marianna, FL) Assistant Coach

2001-04    Burlington (WI) Catholic Central HS Head Coach

Message From The President

Dear Rotarians,

As many of you know, I grew up in Philadelphia, PA. When I was in high school I became very interested in sports and began to follow the local professional teams. I was also exposed to collegiate men’s basketball which is extremely popular in Philadelphia due to the annual big five tournament among the division 1 colleges located in the metropolitan area. Like many sporting fans I fell in love with March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

As a follower of collegiate men’s basketball, I became aware of a team from out west that played a wide-open brand of basketball, the UNLV Running Rebels. In 1990 I was on a ski trip driving from Jackson Hole Wyoming to Salt Lake City Utah. During that drive we listened to the championship game between UNLV and Duke. The Running Rebels ran Duke out of the gym, scoring 103 points and beating Duke by 30. UNLV remains the only team to ever score more than 100 points in the men’s championship game.

Today we welcome the Running Rebels new coach, T. J. Otzelberger, formerly of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and the 2018 Summit League coach of the year. Please join me in wishing coach Otzelberger and the Running Rebels the best of luck for this year and beyond.

Jim Kohl
95th President
Rotary Club of Las Vegas

Member Highlights

Scribe – May 16, 2019

Las Vegas Rotary Club Meeting:  May 16, 2019

Cashyus Baker called the meeting to order.  Giselle Gonzalez gave the invocation. Aryan Singh and Samantha Santos led the club in singing You’re a Grand Old Flag, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.  The Sergeant at Arms was Stephen Alston:

  • There were (1) International Rotarians, (1) visiting Rotarians and (9) Guests of Rotarians introduced;
  • President Jim’s announcements: Corazon Super Build is on 5/18 in Tecate, Mexico; we are planning a Club deep sea fishing excursion, more info to follow;
  • Our partner STWN (Spread the Word Nevada), with Zappos sponsorship, recently adopted Howard Hollingsworth STEAM Academy;
  • President Jim presented Barbara Billitzer with a check for her $703 winnings from a club meeting raffle drawing;
  • Josh Lamers spoke about Katie Decker’s recent retirement as principal of three elementary schools; followed by PP Randy Campanale and PP Jim Hunt expanding on the LVRC’s partnership with Katie and her schools these past two decades; Katie thanked the speakers, the Club and other organizations that made all the successes possible; President Jim then presented Katie with Club gifts (including a custom crystal glass sculpture that Janice Lencke was able to procure, and a luggage set for Katie’s future travels) to commemorate her accomplishments; Paul Maffey announced that the Club was awarding Katie with her Paul Harris +2; Rosalee Hedrick then inducted Katie as a new member of the Club;
  • Jaime Goldsmith announced the upcoming SOAR Awards presentation on 9/16 at the City Hall council chambers, and balloon wrangler volunteers are needed for the 4th of July Parade in Summerlin; PP Karen Whisenhunt stated we are at 93 golfers for the Golf Putting Tournament on 5/19 11 am-2 pm at Angel Park Golf Club; Joakim Nyoni discussed the 25 Club organized event to serve community dinner at the LV Rescue Mission on 5/28 at 4:15 pm, and the next Alpine Picnic is on 7/7 at 9 am for hiking led by PP Russ Swain and 11 am for the picnic event; PP/AG Michael Gordon discussed the huge party 6/27 at Angel Park for President Jim’s debunking, 17:30 for cocktails and 18:00 for the dinner, and requested attendees bring new pair(s) of athletic stocks that will be collected and donated thru Project 150 to those in need in Vegas;
  • The weekly drawing began at $746 plus this week’s donations. The Ticket Winner was Kirk Alexander, who received a prize of $10, and the Lawry’s Bucks winner was Annee Nounna;
  • Tina Bishop introduced our program speaker Kathy Thomas-Gibson of The Courtyard;
  • President Jim presented our speaker with a “Share What You Can” award to benefit a veteran in need and adjourned the meeting.

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