Ten things Bronco fans probably didn't know about the Nevada Wolf Pack or their big little city in the desert
10) Reno, Nevada was founded round about 1860 by an intrepid
swindler gentleman named William Fuller. Fuller decided to take advantage of the Nevada gold rush by constructing a log bridge over the Truckee river and then charging people to cross it. Soon, Fuller built a hotel on the other side of the bridge, and presumably charged people to look at it. The area became widely known as Fuller's Crossing, for reasons still unknown to historians. Soon, a fellow named Myron Lake decided he wanted in on the sweet "charging people not to drown" racket and bought the bridge and hotel from Fuller. The requisite name change to "Lake's Crossing" followed and by the time the Central Pacific railroad came winding past 8 years later, a city was finally incorporated. The new town was named "Reno" in honor of General Jesse Reno, a Union officer that was killed in the Battle of South Mountain during the Civil War. Those of you waiting for the obligatory Chris Ault joke will be disappointed—he didn't arrive in Reno until at least the turn of the century.
Contrary to popular belief, the city was not named for this gentleman.
9) Many know that current Wolf Pack headman Chris Ault is the winningest, and longest-tenured coach in Nevada football history (the latter of which has also afforded him the title of losingest coach in Nevada football history), but the coach with the lowest win percentage in school history is Gordon McEachron, who led the squad from 1955-1958. McEachron was just 6-23 in his 4 years at the helm and submitted his resignation in 1959, in part, because the AD wasn't too keen on his progressive ideas that athletes should receive student aid (McEachron had the football team working part-time jobs on campus to earn their keep). No one can say that McEachron was a failure in life, however, as he had served honorably in the U.S. Air Force during WWII, attaining the rank of captain and serving as a POW in Nazi Germany (he described his stay in Reno as "only slightly worse").
8) The Wolf Pack's mascot is a anthropomorphic wolf by the name of Alphie. Alphie has a younger brother named Wolfie Jr., who was apparently named after Alphie's uncle Wolfie (I'm not making this up, folks). Keen observers will tell you that Wolfie Jr. resembles his uncle a little "too" closely, if you know what I mean.
Alphie is the central character in a
novel children's book called The Wild Wolf Pack Mystery where he scours Reno for legalized brothels the game day basketball. Levar Burton is reviewing the book now.
7) UNR's weekly student newspaper is called The Nevada Sagebrush and has been published continuously since 1893—although prior to 2004, it was simply called The Sagebrush, and before that—The Student Record. I pored through the list of prior editors to see if anyone of note popped out...but all I could find was F.H. Saxton, second editor of the paper (1894–1895) who must have died a wealthy man, as he once patented a gage for a table saw. I know what you're thinking...yes, that F.H. Saxton.
6) In Reno, it is illegal to place a bench in the middle of the street. Enterprising criminals have of course found loopholes to this archaic law...routinely scoffing at the constabulary by placing beanbag chairs, stepstools, and La-Z-Boy recliners in the middle of the street. No wonder prison overcrowding is a real problem in Nevada.
5) Some don't know that before Chris Ault was the head coach at Nevada
he waited tables at the last supper he was starting quarterback for the Wolf Pack. Ault led the Wolf Pack offense from 1965-1967...and how was he? Meh. He guided the Pack to a 16-11-1 record during his time under center...and being only 4'11", I use the term "under center" quite literally.
The photographer was standing in a ravine.
4) Boise State and Nevada played their first football game in 1971, with recently passed head coach Tony Knap leading the Broncos to a 17-10 victory over the Wolf Pack in Reno. All told, the Broncos and the Wolf Pack have played 37 times, with the Broncos emerging victorious on 24 occasions. A bout of selective amnesia only allows me to remember up until the 2009 matchup, but I get moments of lucidity where I vaguely remember something involving a kicker. Was Brad Elkin involved somehow?
3) The university's first building, Morrill Hall, was built in 1887 and still stands on the campus quad. The building was named after Senator Justin Morrill, the writer of the Land Grant College Act that allowed the university to find it's current home (the campus was originally in Elko). Morrill was quite the prolific statesman, helping found the Republican party and sponsoring not only the Land Grant College Act, but the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act and the Morrill Tariff, which frankly I don't understand a lick of. Oh, and he had awesome mutton chops, possibly his greatest accomplishment.
2) I included this tidbit last year, but for obvious reasons, felt it needed to be reiterated...Since 1978, Reno and nearby Sparks have been home to the Sinbad's Hot Dogs franchise. Sinbad's has sold over 2,000,000 hot dogs to nitrate-hungry Nevadans in their 30+ years of existence and their slogan is "Home of the Steamin' Weenie". Y'know what? I'm not even gonna touch that one (not without about a gallon of Purell®, anyway).
1) The worst beating the Wolf Pack have ever endured came at the hands of the Cal Bears to the tune of 81-6 in 1915. I only mention this because it is my sincerest hope, that Boise State beats this record like a drum on Saturday afternoon. I'll make no bones, friends...I do not care for Nevada, their pistols, or their miniscule headman. I remember last season's game better than I let on, and while the Pack won fair and square (screw that punt interference penalty, man)...I want vengeance to rain down upon them from the four horseman Billy, Kellen, Shea and Pestilence...I mean Doug. Fax this picture to Billy Winn if you must! An old fashioned RUTS is all that will bed down this angst. The Golden Bears provided the blueprint nearly 100 years ago.